28 September 2020
Global business, workers, and civil society call on all governments to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 health tools.
In an open letter issued today, ICC, ITUC, and Global Citizen called for all governments to intensify their political and financial commitments to the Access to COVID tools accelerator (ACT-A), an unprecedented collaboration between intergovernmental organisations, industry and civil society that would ensure the equitable access to, and allocation of, the most critical health tools to fight Covid-19: vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
With the world at a critical moment in the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter signed by John W.H. Denton AO, ICC Secretary General, Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary and Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen states:
“While further research and development is still needed to discover as well as ensure the safety and effectiveness of new COVID-19 tools, every effort must be made to rapidly and drastically scale-up and roll out the new therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines as they are discovered, on a global and equitable basis.”
During a meeting last month with Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, Mr Denton offered ICC’s strong support for ACT-A, as a deterrent to rising vaccine nationalism. As the institutional representative of 45 million companies around the world, ICC is committed to ensuring that the virus is brought under control, so that positive economic conditions can return to all countries.
The letter makes clear that the global economy is interconnected, “and (that) no country will be able to return to any sense of normality so long as the virus threatens health, economic, and social systems in foreign lands.”
Speaking to the financial commitments required to fully fund the initiative, the letter emphasises that “the financial investment required to fully fund the initiative is miniscule compared to the potential losses from further lockdowns, social distancing policies and fiscal stimulus measures that a prolonged pandemic would require.”
The letter builds off ICC, ITUC, and Global Citizen’s previous call for G20 leaders to provide sovereign debt relief to lower- and middle-income countries in the wake of worsening economic conditions caused by the pandemic.