April 25 Xinhua News — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for the development and production of COVID-19 tools that are universally accessible.
Guterres made the appeal at the launch of global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 tools.
The world needs the development, production and equitable delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutics and diagnostics – not a vaccine or treatment for one country or one region or one-half of the world, but a vaccine and treatment that are affordable, safe, effective, easily administered and universally available, for everyone, everywhere, Guterres told the virtual event.
hese new tools must be a very clear and essential example of a global public good, he said. “For too long, we have undervalued and underinvested in global public goods – a clean environment, cybersecurity, peace, the list goes on.”
The need for new urgency in support of global public goods and universal health coverage is a vital lesson from this pandemic, he said. “We are in the fight of our lives. We are in it together. And we will come out of it stronger, together.”
A world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in global history. Data must be shared, production capacity prepared, resources mobilized, communities engaged, and politics set aside, he said.
“In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe. COVID-19 respects no borders. COVID-19 anywhere is a threat to people everywhere.”
The launch of the new collaboration was co-hosted by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Guterres stresses importance of multilateralism
The UN chief also stressed the importance of multilateralism amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday.
In a message for the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, which falls on April 24, Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic reminder of how deeply connected the world is.
“The virus knows no borders and is a quintessential global challenge. Combating it requires us to work together as one human family,” he said. “We must do all we can to save lives and ease the economic and social devastation. Crucially, we need to draw the appropriate lessons about the vulnerabilities and inequalities the virus has laid bare, and mobilize investments in education, health systems, social protection and resilience.”
COVID-19 is the biggest international challenge since World War II. Yet even before this test, the world was facing other profound transnational perils – climate change above all, he said.
Guterres asked for networked and inclusive multilateralism in the new global situation. “It is not enough to proclaim the virtues of multilateralism. We must continue to show its added value. International cooperation must adapt to changing times.”
There is a need for a networked multilateralism that strengthens coordination among all global multilateral organizations, with regional ones able to make their vital contributions. There is also a need for an inclusive multilateralism based on deep interaction with civil society, businesses, local and regional authorities and other stakeholders, according to the UN chief.
Multilateralism is not only a matter of confronting shared threats. It is about seizing common opportunities, said Guterres. “We now have the opportunity to build back better than in the past, aiming at inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.”
At this key moment for international cooperation, there is a need for the whole world to strive as one toward a healthy, equitable, peaceful and more sustainable future for all, he said.