WITH the recent breakthroughs in the development and production of vaccines to combat the infection and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC told journalists on Wednesday that equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will represent an “acid test” for the international community.
Speaking during a virtual press briefing, ECOSOC President Munir Akram, stressed on the importance of global cooperation and solidarity in beating back the disease.
Akram, who is Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, stressed that COVID-19 vaccines must be viewed as “a global public good” and must be made accessible to everyone, everywhere.
Stressing on the need for equity in the distribution of the vaccines; especially to developing countries, the ECOSOC President said: “It is up to governments to be able to decide that they will allocate a portion of the vaccine production for other countries: for developing countries, for the vulnerable in developing countries.”
He said: “this will be an acid test, and certainly we as developing countries, as international actors here at the United Nations, we must press for this equity.”
Akram emphasised the need for broader structural change to address inequality globally which he said calls for “the need for investment in sustainable infrastructure.”
ECOSOC is one of the UN’s six main organs and promotes peace through international economic cooperation.
According to a UN statement, Akram also highlighted the groundbreaking international collaboration working to achieve this goal, known as the COVAX Facility, but stated it ultimately was a question of political will whether the entire global population will receive vaccines.
The statement said Akram outlined the agency’s objectives for the coming year, including plans for a facility to support infrastructure investment in developing countries, and forums to examine issues critical to recovery and achieving sustainable development.
According to the report, Akram also detailed how the pandemic is having deep impacts globally, but especially in the world’s poorest countries. He noted that the international community must fight both the virus and its consequences.
He said this calls for an emergency response to mobilise financing for poorer nations, and to support the COVAX Facility and the Secretary-General’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan, both of which are facing significant funding shortfalls.
“If we are to build back better, as the Secretary-General has said, and to build a new green economy which prevents and avoids the climate disaster that is facing us, we need to invest in sustainable infrastructure and to move away from the fossil fuel economy.”
The ECOSOC President also proposed the creation of a public-private partnership to accelerate investment in sustainable infrastructure in developing countries. Consultations are currently underway.
The facility would also utilise the UN’s Resident Coordinator System: a vast network of agencies working on development issues in more than 130 nations worldwide.
The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines has shown how science, technology and innovation can be harnessed towards a common goal, and also applied in global efforts to achieve a sustainable future for all people, he continued.
However, Mr. Akram observed that developing countries have often been blocked from accessing breakthrough technologies due to intellectual property issues.
– Dec. 17, 2020 @ 09:40 GMT |