Speaking at the High-Level Side Event on the ACT-Accelerator, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for all nations to provide further urgently needed funds – the equivalent of the total spent on cigarettes worldwide every two weeks – on behalf of global COVID-19 vaccine efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere, gets protection from the virus.
He remarked: “The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest test of global solidarity in generations. Joining forces to defeat it should be a no-brainer. After all, COVID-19 anywhere is a threat to people and economies everywhere. And that threat is growing at lightning speed. Despite extraordinary efforts to contain its spread, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, reaching 1 million lives lost this week. We see rising cases and troubling signs of new waves in many countries. And it will get worse — hitting the most vulnerable people and places the hardest. It is in every country’s national and economic self-interest to work together to massively expand access to tests and treatments, and to support a vaccine as a global public good — a “people’s vaccine” available and affordable for everyone, everywhere.
The Secretary-General called on developed countries – which have devoted many trillions of dollars to respond to the socio-economic impacts of the crisis in their own countries – to “invest a small fraction of that, to stop the spread of the disease everywhere.”
“I call on all countries and partners to significantly step up in the next three months to provide much needed new and additional resources and to mobilize all partners and to put everyone behind a global response to deliver. Solidarity is self-interest,” he stressed.
“Grasping that 21st-century truth is essential to end this crisis and emerge safer, smarter and stronger together,” he said, wrapping up his remarks.