UN Chief Calls for Vaccine Equity at UNCTAD's Conference

    Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 05 October 2021 14:41 WIB
    UN Chief Calls for Vaccine Equity at UNCTADs Conference
    Illustration (Photo:Medcom.id)

    Bridgetown: UNCTAD's quadrennial conference, UNCTAD15, opened on Monday in Bridgetown, Barbados, with calls for vaccine equity and greater solidarity to tackle trade protectionism, debt distress, the climate crisis and other pressing global challenges.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his call to world leaders to tackle the cascade of crises facing humanity.


    He said the COVID-19 pandemic had wreaked havoc across the global economy, disrupting the three powerful economic engines of trade, manufacturing and transportation.

    Guterres decried the uneven economic recovery unfolding across the world. 

    "In all, more than eight out of every ten dollars in recovery investment is being spent in developed countries — not in the countries in greatest need," he said in a press release on Monday.

    He warned that the uneven recovery was leaving much of humanity behind. 

    "And until we get serious about vaccine equity, recovery will be stuck at the starting gate," he said.

    Secretary-General Guterres pointed out four glaring challenges, which if not addressed would make any notion of prosperity for all a distant dream.

    "Debt distress. Systems starved for investment. Unfair trade. And a climate emergency that leaves small island developing states like Barbados perilously vulnerable," he said.

    To tackle the debt crisis, he called for an urgent four-point debt crisis action plan. 

    "We know national budgets are being stretched thin by COVID-19, so we must push for an immediate expansion of liquidity for the countries in greatest need,” he said.

    Among other measures, Guterres renewed his call for a comprehensive strategy around reforming the international debt architecture — including debt restructuring or reduction, especially for middle-income countries — to help them avoid deadly cycles of debt waves.

    For a sustainable and equitable recovery for all, bold investments in education, universal social protection, health care and decent work are needed, Guterres said.

    To re-ignite the engines of trade and investment and ensure they benefit the poorest countries, he called for open and fair trade rules, so all countries can compete on a level playing field no matter their position on the development ladder.

    Guterres underscored the need to build a global green economy, saying small island developing states (SIDS) like Barbados are looking to the future with worry in the face of the climate crisis.

    He urged countries to make bold commitments at the upcoming UN climate summit (COP26) and donors and multilateral development banks to allocate at least 50% of their climate support towards adaptation and resilience.


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