United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called on the international community to donate 35 billion U.S. dollars to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator program.
Speaking at a high-level event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the UN chief said the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility are prime examples of multilateralism in action for the global public good.
He said the ACT-Accelerator is the only global mechanism with the full spectrum of partners and tools to beat the pandemic — with tests, treatments and the world’s largest portfolio of vaccines in the most advanced trial stages. It also provides the only safe and certain way to re-open the global economy as quickly as possible.
“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 ACT-Accelerator — with its COVAX Facility — is the vehicle to get us there,” he said.
Noting the three billion U.S. dollars provided to start-up the ACT–Accelerator, Guterres stressed the need to scale up and provide the addition 35 billion U.S. dollars required to fund it.
“We need to think bigger. It is time for countries to draw funding from their own response and recovery programs. By helping others, they will help themselves. Investing in the ACT-Accelerator will accelerate every country’s own recovery. The pandemic is costing the global economy 375 billion U.S. dollars a month and 500 million jobs since the crisis erupted. The developed world has devoted many trillions of dollars to respond to the socio-economic impacts of the crisis in their own countries. Surely, we can invest a small fraction of that to stop the spread of the disease everywhere,” he said.
Over one billion U.S.dollars in pledges in new financing for the ACT–Accelerator has already been committed on Thursday.
Launched at the end of April at an event co-hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO’s ACT-Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, philanthropists and global health organizations to deliver the tools needed to accelerate the end of the pandemic.
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