Rich nations must vaccinate entire planet against COVID-19: Ex-UNGA president
Rich countries must do whatever it takes to vaccinate the entire planet against COVID-19, including easing intellectual property rules to let developing nations manufacture vaccines, according to the former president of UN General Assembly. In an op-ed titled We need bold global leadership to build back better, Maria Fernanda Espinosa underscored that serious reforms are needed to help build back better from the pandemic.
We need to repair people's trust in the system: Espinosa
Espinosa said that international cooperation is a constant struggle against short-term interests and narrow distributional claims. Serious reforms are needed to fix the multilateral system that Franklin Roosevelt helped to build 75 years ago. "We also need some quick wins that can ease people's anxieties in the face of a global pandemic," Espinosa, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense of Ecuador said.
International community needs to learn from 2009 financial crisis: Espinosa
"Due to the pandemic, climate catastrophe looms larger and economic divisions, within and across countries, have widened. As we gear up for the climate summit in Glasgow, has the international community learnt the lessons from the financial crisis of 2009?" Espinosa asks in the op-ed.
Espinosa wrote about further measures to fight pandemic's effects
Espinosa listed a few more measures. The International Monetary Fund meetings in April should agree to a large allocation of special drawing rights in excess of a trillion dollars with the details worked out over the summer ready for roll out in October. The creditor countries should allow developing countries to transfer debt service payments to their health budgets for the duration of pandemic.
'Similar measures have been implemented in the past'
"Putting the measures in place in time for the opening of the Glasgow Climate Conference would provide the sense of solidarity needed and which so sadly alluded negotiators in Copenhagen. The world simply does not have the luxury of getting it wrong," Espinosa said.
'Centrifugal forces in ascendancy but there are signs of change'
Espinosa said that the European Union has proposed a Green Deal, China has promised to hit net zero emissions before 2060, and the Biden administration has signed executive orders that put the fight against climate change at the top of its agenda. "These are important initiatives but they don't speak to the immediate anxieties facing the vast majority of the world's population," she added.
These efforts do not suggest best of international cooperation
"To date, multilateral efforts to mitigate these adverse effects of the pandemic do not suggest that international cooperation is up to the task," Espinosa said. She said that vaccines are a clear case of short-term thinking still in the ascendancy.
Prolonging the pandemic anywhere will have consequences everywhere: Espinosa
"The advanced countries have cornered supply through advanced purchasing agreements while getting vaccines on time in developing countries has been treated as charity rather than global policy," Espinosa said. She further added, "The resulting damage to overstretched health systems in the Global South will be devastating but prolonging the pandemic anywhere will have consequences everywhere."