New York

28 September 2020

Deputy Secretary-General's opening remarks at Press Briefing on Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID 19 and Beyond and Vaccine/ACT-Accelerator [as prepared for delivery]

Over just nine months, a catastrophic health, socio-economic, and humanitarian crisis has been unleashed on the world, taking a toll on the most vulnerable.
 
While no country or society will succeed alone, some are still maintaining a “me first logic” rather than coming together.  We must turn this approach around.  We need solidarity and concerted multilateral efforts to fight the pandemic and save lives. 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen.
 
To respond to the crisis and to address the pre-existing structural fragilities that have amplified the widespread and devastating impacts, resources need to be made available to developed and developing countries alike. 
 
Maximum financial support must be provided to the most vulnerable countries.
 
This is why on the 29th of September the Secretary-General, together with Canada and Jamaica, is convening a high-level event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond, where Heads of State and Government will be presented with a set of recommendations calling for:
 
Providing more time for distressed countries to make bilateral debt payments—by extending the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and expanding its scope; and engaging private sector creditors and credit rating agencies in debt relief and debt sustainability efforts. 

Ensuring that countries have access to sufficient liquidity by supporting a new US$ 650 billion general allocation and US$ 100 billion voluntary re-distribution of Special Drawing Rights to developing and vulnerable countries, including middle-income countries.   

Encouraging multilateral development banks to proactively support developing economies by ensuring net new financing flows compared to 2019, in a timely manner and where possible on concessional terms, consistent with their countercyclical role. 

Enhancing targeted funding to alleviate COVID-19 either by supporting existing funds and facilities or creating new funds to provide concessional finance from MDBs to developing countries. 
Combatting illicit financial flows, including by tackling enablers and vested interests that benefit from them, preventing profit-shifting by multinationals, and bolstering the availability, transparency and exchange of data on beneficial ownership. 

Investing in decent, gender-sensitive, and green jobs, strengthening social protection systems and mechanisms, and reducing the transaction cost of remittances to close to zero. 
And aligning national and local budgets with the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement. 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen.
 
We need to suppress the virus. 
 
To do so, the world urgently needs development, production and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 diagnostics therapeutics and vaccines.
 
The ACT-Accelerator is our global solution to help the world recover and rebuild from this devastating pandemic.
 
Leading international health organisations, research institutes, foundations and the private sector have worked tirelessly. 
 
In just 5 months, the ACT-Accelerator is up and running. 

Already we are seeing success: the feasibility and  announcement today of game-changing rapid diagnostics for low- and middle-income countries; the only proven therapy for severe COVID-19 disease; a broad, dynamic vaccine research portfolio and the establishment of a COVAX vaccines facility with over 156 economies committed and more potentially joining, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population.
 
We are now at a critical point in the work of the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility.
 
We must make important political choices and a quantum leap in funding to increase the chances of a global solution to get the world moving, working and prospering again.
 
The US$3 billion contributed to date has been a critical seed fund for the start-up phase of the ACT-Accelerator. 
 
But we now need an additional US$35 billion to help the facility go from start-up to scale up to meet its goals: to produce 2 billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests.
 
$15 billion of that is needed in the next three months to advance its work immediately.
 
This is why on the 30th of September the Secretary-General is convening a second high-level event on Tackling COVID-19 Together through the ACT-Accelerator, together with the UK, South Africa and WHO.
 
The Secretary-General will call for an urgent, quantum leap in political support and financing to deliver equitable access to the new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
 
The event is expected to include significant announcements that demonstrate the ambition needed to fill the US$35 billion financing gap for the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility.  It will kick off a series of high-level events through December 2020 that will ensure it is fully resourced to deliver the tools the world needs to bring an end to this global crisis as quickly as possible.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
Now is the time to think beyond the boundary, and to advocate for policies that previously may have seemed impossible. Our collective aim has to be that the world emerges from this crisis together: a global crisis requires a global solution.
 
Thank you.