Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the online pledging event for coronavirus response: Joining Forces to Accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New COVID-19 Vaccines, Diagnostics and Therapeutics, in New York today:
Thank you. It is an enormous pleasure to be here.
I thank the European Commission and its partner Governments for their leadership in hosting this important pledging conference. This is exactly the kind of leadership the world needs today.
In the span of a few short months, COVID-19 has spread to every corner of the world, infecting more than 3.3 million people and claiming more than 230,000 lives.
Comprehensive, coordinated public health measures are critical to slow transmission and to save lives. But even countries that have taken such steps remain in jeopardy. And the virus is still likely to strike many countries that are least able to cope. In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe.
I was very happy to join the World Health Organization and an initial group of health actors to launch the ACT Accelerator — a landmark global collaboration to speed up the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
These new tools can help us to fully control the pandemic and must be treated as global public goods available and affordable for all. This is the only path to a world free of COVID-19. But this will require the most massive public health effort in history.
Today we are taking the next step: mobilizing resources for this vital endeavour. I welcome the generous contributions being announced today towards the initial goal of €7.5 billion. These funds are a kind of a down payment for developing the new tools at the speed needed.
But to reach everyone, everywhere, we will likely need five times that amount. I call on all partners to join in this effort as we look to gather again in late May to sustain our momentum. We have a common vision. Let us now put people first everywhere.
I thank you once again for your leadership.