Delegation of the European Union to Gabon, for Sao Tomé-and-Principe and ECCAS

Joint Statement: United Nations 2nd Committee -- Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines to ensure Resilient and Sustainable Recovery

Brussels, 08/10/2021 - 23:52, UNIQUE ID: 211008_46
Statements on behalf of the EU

8 October 2021, New York Joint Statement at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly 2nd Committee on Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines to ensure Resilient and Sustainable Recovery

Looking back more than one year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see that it changed the world. We are deeply concerned about the devastating and multifaceted effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on lives and livelihoods, societies and economies and the progress lost, including towards the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals and its targets.

Given this shared challenge, we renew our commitment to multilateral solutions as expressed in several initiatives presented by Member States so far. We strongly believe that more effective cooperation, solidarity and a strong multilateral system are essential to overcome the pandemic safely, equitably and sustainably.

COVID-19 vaccinations strongly play into the entire development agenda. For getting back on track to achieving the SDGs, vaccinations are a key element. Getting the world vaccinated, leaving no one behind is the imperative of this time.

Madame Chair,

We are encouraged by the unprecedented scientific research and collaboration among governments, international institutions, civil society and the private sector, which resulted in the development and production of several COVID-19 vaccines in record time.

We commend the contributions made to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to ensure equitable and affordable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and its vaccine pillar, the COVAX facility, for promoting vaccine accessibility and affordability. COVAX is the key instrument to deliver on equitable and affordable access to safe, quality, efficacious and effective vaccines and these tools have proven to be effective, but require major scaling up. In that regard, we urge all Member States to continue providing further financial and in kind contributions, to fulfil the pledges made to date and encourage all countries to include financial contributions to the ACT-A in their recovery plan as this is a sound investment in the future.

We also acknowledge the significant number of donations of vaccines but, regret that nevertheless access to vaccines around the world continues to be highly uneven. We are concerned by the lack of access to vaccines, particularly in low and middle-income countries, and undue stockpiling.

We call on treating the COVID-19 vaccination as a global public good by ensuring affordable, equitable and fair access to vaccines for all, leaving no one behind.

We recognize that solidarity and cooperation in unprecedented times needs to be enhanced. Therefore extraordinary actions are needed to expand COVID-19 vaccine production globally through voluntary dissemination of technology and know-how, including by using TRIPS flexibilities if needed, in accordance with WTO rules and procedures. 

There are examples of support for the scaling up of local vaccine production, for example the COVAX Vaccine Manufacturing Working Group, and we encourage all stakeholders to support this, since there continue to be challenges to be solved swiftly.

We must also be looking beyond vaccines: vaccination needs more than the vaccine. Country preparedness and readiness are important steps in the vaccination process. Strong health systems, providing essential health services are the cornerstones not only for successful vaccinations but also for ensuring resilient systems and pandemic preparedness in the future and for building back better. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is critically important in building resilient health systems. And we need to maintain routine immunization against other communicable diseases too!

Furthermore, access to timely, accurate, and science-based information and addressing misinformation and disinformation are critical to overcome vaccine hesitancy, and we commend the Secretary-General’s “Verified” initiative in this regard.

We commit to working together towards the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by September 2022.

We also commit to work on pandemic preparedness, through taking lessons learned from this pandemic and other epidemics to better prevent, detect and respond to global health risks and emergencies including through a OneHealth approach and avoid the next outbreak from becoming a devastating pandemic. We also commit to strengthening global health systems and the WHO, in particular its capacity for preparedness and response in health emergencies.

Vaccination is not a race between countries but a race against the virus! Only together – through multilateral approaches, global cooperation and solidarity - we have a chance to defeat the virus everywhere.

Thank you!

Supported by:

1.         Albania

2.         Andorra

3.         Argentina

4.         Austria

5.         Australia

6.         Azerbaijan

7.         Bahrein

8.         Belgium

9.         Bosnia and Herzegovina

10.       Brazil

11.       Bulgaria

12.       Canada

13.       Chile

14.       Colombia

15.       Costa Rica

16.       Croatia

17.       Cyprus

18.       Czech Republic

19.       Denmark

20.       Dominican Republic

21.       El Salvador

22.       Estonia

23.       Fiji

24.       Finland

25.       France

26.       Germany

27.       Georgia

28.       Greece

29.       Guatemala

30.       Hungary

31.       Iceland

32.       Indonesia

33.       Ireland

34.       Israel

35.       Italy

36.       Japan

37.       Jordan

38.       Latvia

39.       Lebanon

40.       Liechtenstein

41.       Lithuania

42.       Luxembourg

43.       Malta

44.       Malaysia

45.       Mexico

46.       Moldova

47.       Monaco

48.       Montenegro

49.       Morocco

50.       Myanmar

51.       Netherlands

52.       New Zealand

53.       North Macedonia

54.       Norway

55.       Paraguay

56.       Peru

57.       Philippines

58.       Poland

59.       Portugal

60.       Qatar

61.       Republic of Korea

62.       Romania

63.       Saudi Arabia

64.       Serbia

65.       Singapore

66.       Slovakia

67.       Slovenia

68.       Spain

69.       Sweden

70.       Switzerland

71.       Tanzania

72.       Thailand

73.       Tunisia

74.       Ukraine

75.       United Kingdom

76.       United Arab Emirates

77.       Venezuela

78.       Vietnam

79.       Zimbabwe

80.       and the EU

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