Addressing the equitable distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus in the Security Council, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres proposed the creation of an emergency task force by the G20 countries to prepare and help implement a global immunization plan.
“The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is generating hope,” he told the 15-member Council’s videoconferencing meeting on Wednesday. “At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community.”
Wednesday's meeting was organized to discuss the role of the Security Council, Member States and the United Nations in ensuring that vaccines are made available equitably in places affected by conflict and insecurity.
The Secretary-General pointed out that the coronavirus continues its merciless march across the world — upending lives, destroying economies and undermining the Sustainable Development Goals — while exacerbating all the factors that drive instability and hindering global efforts to implement Security Council resolution 2532 (2020) on conflict prevention and resolution.
Noting that progress on vaccinations has been wildly uneven and unfair, with just 10 countries having administered 75 per cent of all vaccines, he emphasized that more than 130 countries have not received a single dose. “If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the global South, it will mutate again and again,” he warned. “This can prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the global North.”
Recalling the creation of the COVAX facility — the one global tool to procure and deliver vaccines to low- and middle-income countries — he stressed the urgent need for a global vaccination plan to bring together all those with the required power, scientific expertise and production, and financial capacities.
The Group of 20 (G20) is well placed to establish an emergency task force to prepare such a plan and coordinate its implementation and financing, he continued. Such a task force should include all countries with a capacity to develop vaccines or to produce them if licenses are available, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), relevant technical organizations and international financial institutions.
He said the task force would have the capacity to mobilize the pharmaceutical companies and key industry and logistics actors, expressing his readiness to galvanize the entire United Nations system in support of such an effort. The Group of Seven (G7) meeting later this week can create the momentum to mobilize the necessary financial resources, he added, declaring: “Together, we can ensure sufficient supply, fair distribution and vaccine confidence.”