Nicholas M. Hill
Acting U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
New York, New York
February 3, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a health crisis. It has also caused an economic downturn and setback progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals. However, we cannot achieve economic recovery until we further control the spread of COVID-19, which requires widespread vaccination.
The United States is leading the global response to the pandemic, and we will continue to press for rapid, equitable distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines globally. To date, the United States has provided $4 billion in contributions to Gavi in support of COVAX, and announced at the COVID-19 Summit in September that we will purchase and donate an additional 500 million vaccine doses for distribution by COVAX through 2022, bringing our total to over 1.2 billion doses donated. Some 400 million of those doses have been delivered to date to over 110 countries free of cost and with no political strings attached.
The UN can and should play a leading role in global efforts to strengthen health systems’ resilience against health emergencies. The UN, including ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, should explore cost efficiencies and innovative sources of funding, wherever possible, to advance the UN’s role in global health security, seeking to ensure that funds are accessible and able to be effectively deployed to areas in greatest need.
In addition, the UN system should continue to make progress on transparency and accountability on health-related issues, as this relates to budgetary, management, and personnel operations.
We would like to see greater coordination among regional organizations, including the regional economic commissions, which could assist in aggregating demand and joint procurement, coordinating resource management and planning, and strengthening coordination to address unique local challenges.
We look forward to working together to solve these challenges, end the pandemic, and build back better.