Ambassador Elisabeth Millard
Acting U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
April 16, 2021
Thank you to the President of the Economic and Social Council for convening this Special Meeting as the world rallies around the common cause of fighting COVID-19. The outlook has changed in the last year, and we have reason for hope. Thanks to the tireless efforts of scientists, doctors, and health professionals around the globe, several safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics were developed with unprecedented speed. These are remarkable achievements.
President Biden has prioritized Global Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness as crucial to national and economic security. Our current focus on global health presents an opportunity to repair the architecture for improving pandemic preparedness and response, including to increase independent oversight and accountability.
The United States and several partners are also planning a UN virtual dialogue that convenes key opinion leaders and high-level officials to explore ways to strengthen the global health security financing on April 26.
The private sector and governments are cooperating to expand global manufacturing capacity for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to keep pace with global demand. The United States is committed to working with international partners to tackle this unprecedented global health crisis and end this pandemic. We will work with our partners across the globe to expand manufacturing and distribution capacity and to increase access, including to vulnerable and marginalized populations.
In March, the United States made good on President Biden’s promise to contribute $2 billion to Gavi in support of COVAX. We plan to contribute another $2 billion through 2022, and encourage others to deliver on their commitments and commit new resources. As my colleague from USAID said earlier today, yesterday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Acting-Administrator Gloria Steele announced with Gavi the launch of an “Investment Opportunity for COVAX” to leverage our contributions to accelerate global COVID-19 vaccinations and end the pandemic. With these resources, the U.S. is helping ensure safe and effective vaccines reach the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations. This is in stark contrast to those countries promoting themselves as vaccine champions without contributing anything to COVAX, a global solution based on principles of equity, transparency, and sustainability. We encourage countries and the private sector to make new contributions to COVAX to ensure equitable global delivery of safe and effective vaccines to more of the world’s population. As long as COVID-19 is spreading anywhere, it remains a threat to all of us.
We are also working to strengthen other multilateral initiatives involved in the global COVID-19 response – including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. These commitments build on a long tradition. Over the past two decades, the United States has provided more than $140 billion in global health assistance and we are now the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19.
We welcome the contributions of other Member States, and the policy and logistical preparations many countries are making to ensure the rapid and effective administration of safe and effective vaccines to the most vulnerable in their countries.