“I urge the G20 countries, together with the United Nations, to take a strong leadership role to end this devastating global pandemic,” the UN chief said on Friday at the World Health Summit, a one-day virtual conference aimed at coordinating global efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic, Xinhua reported.
Speaking of the global effort to contain the virus, the senior UN official said extremely unequal access to vaccines, tests, drugs and supplies, including oxygen, has left countries most poor at the mercy of the virus.
“The recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in India, South America and other regions have literally left people breathless in front of our eyes,” he said.
“The pandemic is still very present, prosperous and changing,” he warned.
Guterres said rapid and comprehensive vaccination around the world, along with continued public health measures, is the only way to end the pandemic and prevent more dangerous variants from taking hold.
“But so far, more than 82 percent of the vaccine doses in the world have gone to rich countries. Only 0.3 percent has gone to low-income countries,” he said.
“The G20 Rome Declaration is an important step in ensuring equal access to vaccines. But we need a follow-up mechanism, backed by the political will to translate the declaration into a global immunization plan,” said the secretary general.
“We have many initiatives. But we have to make sure that they add rather than subtract. We have to make sure that there is coordination at the level of these different initiatives, some of which have just been announced today.” , he added.
“I reiterate my call to the G20 to set up a working group bringing together all countries with vaccine production capacities, the World Health Organization, ACT-Accelerator partners and international financial institutions. , able to deal with pharmaceutical companies and other key stakeholders., ”he continued.
The working group is expected to address equitable global distribution using the COVAX facility, the secretary-general said. “It should aim to at least double manufacturing capacity by exploring all options, from voluntary licenses and technology transfers to patent pooling and flexibility of intellectual property rights.
“The G20 Working Group should be co-convened at the highest level by the great powers that hold most of the world’s supply and production capacity, as well as the multilateral system,” Guterres said.
“We are at war with the virus. And if you are at war with the virus, we must manage our weapons with the rules of a war economy, and we are not there yet. And that’s true for vaccines, and it is. true for other elements of the fight against the virus, ”he added.
According to the head of the UN, at present, COVAX should have delivered 170 million doses in the world. But due to vaccine nationalism, limited production capacity and lack of funding, that figure is only 65 million.
“I call on the G20 countries to lead by example and provide their full share of funding,” he said.
“A coordinated global effort on vaccines can end this pandemic,” the secretary general said. “The world needs political commitment at the highest level to take cross-cutting, internationally coordinated action and transform preparedness for a global pandemic.”
“Together, we can and we must build a healthier, safer, more just and more sustainable world,” said the UN chief.