Speech

UNGA: Statement on the White House Summit on COVID-19

 

Statement of the Prime Minister at the White House Summit on COVID-19.

Mr. President, 

Thank you for convening this timely Summit at this important moment. Today, our common priority is to close the vaccination gap. 
 
In Belgium, more than eight out of ten adults are already fully vaccinated. But we want this figure to be a global figure. That’s why we support the ACT-Accelerator and the COVAX initiative, and why we’ll donate at least 4 million vaccines by the end of this year. 
 
We’re proud that Team Europe is also making significant efforts, with over 2.4 billion euro in financial support to COVAX and 200 million vaccine donations. 
 
To strengthen equitable access to vaccines, it is important that global supply chains remain open. As one of the world’s vaccine powerhouses, Belgium exported over 450 million vaccines to the rest of the world. We’ve always kept trade lanes open. 
 
But we must do more. We must increase global production capacities and we must do it quickly. That’s why we support the African Union in its ambition to increase local vaccine production. Sharing of knowledge and technologies are among the best ways to do so.  
 
Dear friends,
 
The proposed targets rightly include long-term objectives. This pandemic is far from over, but we should start preparing for the next pandemic already.  
 
The World Health Organization should remain at the center of these efforts. Let’s make it ‘fit for purpose’ to live up to the expectations. 
 
We also believe that a treaty should be an essential part of the equation, to strengthen international commitments around pandemic preparedness and resilient health systems globally, including universal health coverage and equitable access to medicines.  
 
An inclusive process is the right way forward.  
 
Once again, thank you for convening today’s Summit and for the valuable contribution in the run up towards the special session of the World Health Assembly in November. 
 
I thank you.