Fiji’s Prime Minister, Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama called on World Leaders to ensure that all countries have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The United Nations convened a special virtual meeting of World Leaders last week in New York to discuss the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and chart a way forward for global recovery. 

Fiji’s Prime Minister joined nearly 100 World leaders at this historic two day meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

This has been the largest meeting of World leaders since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), H.E. Antonio Guterres reiterated his call for COVID-19 vaccines to be a “global public good”.

The Secretary General said that UN’s SDG remain the “blue print for global recovery and that this was an “opportunity to build back better and build back more sustainably”.

UN Secretary General restated his call for a “global cease fire to allow countries can focus on fighting the virus.” 

In the lead to the Climate Adaptation Summit to be held this week, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reminded World’s leaders that the recovery must lead to bolder and faster actions to address climate change. Canada’s Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Justin Trudeau told the United Nations General Assembly that the inequality between rich and poor countries has been made worse by the pandemic. 

“The pandemic has taught us difficult lessons about inequality both in Canada and between countries.” Advanced economies have spent more than 20 percent of their GDP on economic stability while developing countries have spent less than 8 percent. 

“It is time for a reset”. PM Bainimarama called on fellow World leaders to “renew our collective determination to defeat COVID-19, rebuild the global economy in a way that preserves decades of progress the UN has worked so hard to achieve; and set humanity towards a safer and more sustainable future”. 

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that the world must recognise that “the playing field in a global COVID recovery is wildly uneven. Not all countries have the same level of technical knowledge that is needed to defeat the virus. Not all counties have the financial capital to inject trillions into our devastating economies. Pacific states are uniquely disadvantaged”. 

PM Bainimarama thanked Australia for its support for vaccine procurement for Fiji and the Pacific Islands, saying it was an “act of genuine solidarity and lesson to the world”. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told this Special Session of the UN General Assembly that “we must never forget that the pandemic can only be truly beaten – i.e. lastingly defeated – when everyone in the world has equitable access to effective vaccines.” 

Commenting on this historic special meeting of the UN, Fiji’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr Satyendra Prasad said that this “was a crucial re-setting point for building a new global momentum around a unified approach based on solidarity and shared commitment between rich and poorer countries to address the multidimensional nature of pandemic.  

Ambassador Prasad said that this “includes agreements to ensure access to vaccines for all humanity; commitments to strengthen national health systems; building firmer foundations for managing future pandemics; ensuring that affordable finance and technical knowhow is available to all countries when they need it the most; tackling the vast  uneven impacts of the pandemic on women across the world”.

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