PM Lee urges international cooperation to ensure vaccines for all countries

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a pre-recorded video message to a global conference broadcast live on YouTube today, said that "a pandemic knows no borders", and "no country is truly safe, until all of us are safe". PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIO
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a pre-recorded video message to a global conference broadcast live on YouTube today, said that "a pandemic knows no borders", and "no country is truly safe, until all of us are safe". PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has 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 today, Mr Lee said that Singapore is also discussing vaccine certification with interested countries as a way to resume the possibility of travel.

World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, United States special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and European Commission president 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 a 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 11/2-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 Group of 20 high-level independent panel, set up last month to study how to better finance the world's preparedness against future pandemics.

"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 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

  • International advocacy group Global Citizen's new campaign, A Recovery Plan For The World, will focus on five key areas.

    1 Ending Covid-19 for all

    2 Ending the hunger crisis

    3 Resuming learning everywhere

    4 Protecting the planet

    5 Promoting equity for all.

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

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2021, with the headline 'PM Lee urges international cooperation to ensure vaccines for all countries'. Subscribe