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Xinhua
April 11, 2021

Pakistan calls on the world to end vaccine inequality

Business

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Xinhua
April 11, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: Munir Akram, President United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), has called on the global community to address the crisis of inequality and mobilise financing for recovering from the devastation of Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have to address the crisis of inequality, because we cannot build back better if we continue on this path of inequality,” said Akram, who is also Pakistan's ambassador to UN, talking to journalists at a virtual press conference ahead of ECOSOC's high-level meeting on Financing for Development scheduled for Monday.

Speaking of the pandemic’s severe impact on people across the world, the ECOSOC president said, “We have seen the inequality between countries, and between peoples within countries, the poor, both in the rich countries, and the poorest in the poorest countries have suffered the most”. “And this is a vivid illustration of the nature of our international system, and national structures where there is no equity,” he said, noting that 100 million people have been pushed into poverty during this crisis.

“At the same time, the richest people have added 337 billion US dollars to their wealth,” said Akram.

The ambassador said the ECOSOC’s ‘Financing For Development’ forum would meet on Monday in a high level segment meeting with the heads of state and heads of government as well as ministers, noting, “It is my hope that we will come out with some positive developments at this session”.

“I've been pleased by the fact that there is an agreement at the G20 level for the creation of $650 billion in new SDRs (Special Drawing Rights),” he said. The ECOSOC president reiterated UN’s stance of opposing vaccine nationalism, both in the production, as well as in the distribution of the vaccines”.

He called for efforts to fully finance the COVAX and the Acumen accelerator.

“There is still a gap of about $16 billion, as I understand it in financing the COVAX facility, which was meant to buy vaccines and distribute deals to at least 20 percent of the priority populations in all countries,” he said. “And this is far behind schedule,” noted Akram. The ambassador warned that the vaccine inequality “is now becoming more and more visible”.