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G20 leaders pledge support for Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator as crisis grows

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World leaders on Saturday met at the Global Health Summit, co-hosted by the European Commission and Italy as part of its G20 presidency, to adopt an agenda to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, and develop and endorse a Rome Declaration of principles.

The meeting came at a time when the virus is surging and spreading uncontrollably in many parts of the world.

With nine people losing their lives to Covid-19 every minute on average, and as the risk of even more transmissible and dangerous variants increases, the Global Health Summit comes at a critical juncture. The future of the pandemic is in the hands of the G20 leaders.

The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) was launched just over a year ago in response to the G20’s call for a global mechanism to accelerate the development of tests, treatments and vaccines and to ensure their equitable distribution.

Hosted by the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator offers the only end-to-end multilateral solution to speeding up an end to the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ACT-Accelerator welcomes the commitments made at the Global Health Summit and will work with countries to operationalise rapidly these pledges, both financial and – crucially – for over 100 million doses of scarce vaccine, the WHO said.

Current financial commitments are reflected in the ACT-Accelerator interactive funding tracker. However, a significant funding gap remains.

Speeding up an end to the pandemic through the ACT-Accelerator would cost less than 1 per cent of what governments are spending on stimulus packages to treat the consequences of the pandemic.

As the economic and social costs of the pandemic continue to escalate, the case for global solidarity grows even stronger.

The Rome Declaration, released at the end of the summit, reaffirmed leaders’ support for the ACT-Accelerator and underlined the necessity to share the financial burden and close the funding gap, in order for the ACT-Accelerator to fulfil its mandate for the equitable allocation and delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines to defeat the pandemic.

The group also emphasised its support for global sharing of vaccine doses approved for emergency use by the WHO and through Covax.

Carl Bildt, special envoy for the ACT-Accelerator and former prime minister of Sweden, said: “Today’s commitments are welcome – but more action is needed now, not in weeks or months, to change the course of the pandemic. While some countries have moved beyond just words, by donating vaccines and pledging to fully finance the ACT-Accelerator, further action is needed from G20 and G7 leaders if we are to stop this virus from spreading and mutating further. We all have substantial work ahead of us.”

Published : May 23, 2021

By : The Nation