Indonesia Encourages UN to Ensure COVID-19 Vaccine Availability Worldwide
The Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi has encouraged the United Nations to ensure the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.
“The UN must be able to help member countries increase their vaccine distribution capacity, both in terms of infrastructure and human resource capacity,” said Retno at the UN General Assembly Special Session to handle the COVID-19 pandemic virtually from New York on 3-4 December 2020.
“Finding a vaccine is not the end of the challenge. Our next task is to ensure that the vaccines can be accessed and distributed fairly for all,” she added.
Sharing the same sentiment, President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir said that the world put high hopes for the leadership of the UN in handling the pandemic. “The UN must come forward, take concrete steps, and increase world confidence,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable groups of people. “The poor, the elderly, women and children are the ones most affected,” said Antonio.
Therefore, the opportunity for post-pandemic recovery must be used to change the world into a world that is more just, he added.
In the meantime, Retno also mentioned three things that need to be done by the international community.
First, translating political commitment into concrete steps. One of the most urgent is support for multilateral efforts for vaccines, such as the COVAX AMC and ACT Accelerator; and support for distribution capacity and human resources across countries.
Second, strengthening the capacity of the health industry in each country. Currently, there is a health infrastructure gap between developed and developing countries and this needs to be addressed, including through the creation of an ecosystem for research and development, technology transfer, and industrial cooperation.
Third, strengthening global health systems. The WHO may not perfect yet, but it remains the best organization in the world to coordinate efforts to fight the pandemic. All countries must help strengthen the capacity of the WHO. Multilateral mechanisms that have been established during pandemics must also be continued after the pandemic ends. The technology access pool, tools accelerator, and COVAX facility should be the mechanisms that will continue to be used in the future.
For the record, the UN General Assembly Special Session was held to continue to strengthen the collective steps of the world community for handling the pandemic. Some of the specific issues discussed were related to the provision of vaccines, post-pandemic world recovery, and global health resilience in the future.
Indonesia has played an international leadership role since the beginning of the pandemic handling phase, among others by becoming one of the initiators of the first UN Resolution on handling COVID-19 and Resolution 74/270 “Global Solidarity to Combat COVID-19” which was ratified by acclamation on April 2, 2020. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs/UN) (STU/LW)