PM Lee calls for global cooperation to ensure Covid-19 vaccines for all

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the recording for the Global Citizen Recovery Plan for the World campaign. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Feb 24) called for international cooperation to make sure all countries, including developing ones, have access to proven Covid-19 vaccines.

In a pre-recorded video message to a global conference broadcast live on YouTube, Mr Lee said that Singapore is also discussing vaccine certification with interested countries as a way to resume the possibility of travel.

The director-general of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the US special presidential envoy for climate, Mr John Kerry; and the President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, were among those at the conference.

Actor Hugh Jackman and singer-songwriter Billie Ellish provided star billing to the event, which kicked off the new campaign, A Recovery Plan for the World, by international advocacy group Global Citizen, which will focus on five key areas.

The areas are ending Covid-19 for all, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning everywhere, protecting the planet, and promoting equity for all.

The campaign comes amid tentative signs that the world is recovering from Covid-19 , and as governments and industry leaders rethink entrenched modes of production and the distribution of resources.

In his 1½-minute speech, Mr Lee said: "In a crisis, it is natural to turn inwards. But a pandemic knows no borders. No country is truly safe until all of us are safe.

"Even as each of us gears up to secure our own (vaccine) supplies, we must cooperate internationally so that all countries, including developing ones, have access to vaccines for their people."

He added that Singapore supported the G-20 high-level independent panel, set up in January to study how to better finance the world's preparedness against future pandemics.

Remote video URL

"We look forward to practical and implementable recommendations from the panel," Mr Lee said. "Let us strengthen our collective response to bring about a more inclusive and sustainable recovery for all."

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam co-chairs the panel, along with former US treasury secretary Lawrence Summers and Nigeria's former finance and foreign minister, Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Last year, the European Commission and Global Citizen co-launched another campaign - Global Goal: United For Our Future.

It roped in artistes and 40 governments and organisations to provide 250 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the world's poorest countries, and raised US$236 million (S$312 million) to ameliorate the pandemic's effect on marginalised communities.

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