Gov’t lauds global search for COVID-19 vaccine

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Hugh Todd, today commended the global community for its dedication to the search for vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Minister Todd made this statement while addressing his counterparts during the virtual 44th Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the G77 and China.

“We commend the speed of global collaboration in the search for vaccines, particularly through the ACT-Accelerator initiative of GAVI – The Vaccine Alliance and the WHO, with the hope that it will benefit all countries,” Minister Todd said.

The Minister also noted the support for the building of manufacturing capabilities, maintenance of global supply chains, and plans for the distribution of up to two billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021, once initial testing is completed – through the COVAX Facility.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed some 52 million COVID-19 cases, with over one million deaths worldwide, so far.

Developing nations have however, been hardest hit by the pandemic, which has devastated economies and healthcare systems.

Minister Todd said the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the health systems in developing countries, while widening socio-economic divides.

“In short order, our development priorities shifted to the immediate task of saving lives and livelihoods. Rapid building up of capacity for the effective distribution of social services became imperative, in the face of deepening inequalities, increased gender-based violence and greater vulnerability among children, youth and marginalised households. But we cannot relent in our primary aim to eradicate poverty and inequality,” he said.

The Foreign Minister said Governments were forced to shift their policy priorities while the limited policy space available to G-77 countries remains an issue.

“The upshot of this is that the liquidity to weather this storm is severely lacking in many of our countries. With limited scope for raising revenue, coupled with contracting economic activity, we have found ourselves mainly reliant on access to financial flows from multilateral financial institutions. Sadly, this access is severely restricted for the majority of our members due to outmoded systems of classification,” the Minister said.

The Official Development Assistance (ODA) could be the most assured form of financial support in countries’ response to the pandemic and their efforts to rebuild economic and social structures.

“Now more than ever, we call on our developed partners to honour the commitment to increase ODA flows as a per cent of gross national income,” Minister Todd said.

Guyana hosted the Meeting in its capacity as Chair of the G77 and China grouping. It will be succeeded by the Republic of Guinea when its Chairmanship comes to an end later this year.

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