Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that international cooperation is necessary to make sure that all countries, including developing ones, can get hold of COVID-19 vaccines for its people.
He said this during the launch of “A Recovery Plan for the World” campaign by international advocacy group Global Citizen on Wednesday (24 February).
Besides PM Lee, the event also saw other renowned attendees such as World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, United States special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
In his pre-recorded video message to the global conference broadcast live on YouTube, Mr Lee said: “The world must be united in our response to COVID-19. 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.”
He added, “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.”
PM Lee also reiterated vaccines offer the world a “way out” of the crisis, adding that Singapore is participating in the COVAX Facility and have contributed to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment.
COVAX is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched by WHO, the European Commission and France in response to the current pandemic. Its main goal is to ensure people across the globe will get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are made available, regardless of their wealth.
If that’s not all, PM Lee also noted that Singapore is in talks with interested countries on vaccine certification to possibly resume international travel.
“We are also discussing mutual recognition of vaccine certification with interested countries. That is another necessary step towards resuming global travel.”
Moving one, the Prime Minister revealed that Singapore also supports the G20 High Level Independent Panel, which was inaugurated last month to study how to better finance the global health preparedness to combat future pandemics.
“We look forward to practical and implementable recommendations from the Panel, to finance the global health commons.
“By drawing the right lessons and taking the right collective actions, the world will be better prepared to future global health crises. Let us strengthen our collective response, to bring about a more inclusive and sustainable recovery for all,” he said.
The Recovery Plan For The World campaign focuses on five main areas, which are ending COVID-19 for all, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning worldwide, protecting the planet, and promoting equity for all.
In 2020, the European Commission and Global Citizen launched another campaign – Global Goal: United For Our Future. The campaign brought in artists and 40 governments and organisations to provide 250 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be supplied to the world’s poorest countries, and collected US$236 million (S$312 million) to improve the pandemic’s effect on marginalised communities.