SECRETARY BLINKEN: Daleep, thank you very, very much. And colleagues, it’s wonderful to be with all of you, to see you on the screen.
And Minister Sadikin, thank you. I very much share both the sentiment and substance of your remarks. We’re grateful for them, grateful for Indonesia’s leadership on the many challenges posed by COVID-19, especially during the presidency of the G20 that you hold.
And to all of our friends from around the world, from the public and private sectors or from civil society, thank you for joining our second Global COVID Summit.
Since we met last September, more than five billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world. That brings the global vaccination rate in total up to 60 percent. That progress proves our collective resolve. Still, we have more work to do and a ways to go to ensure that every country meets the 70 percent vaccination target that was set last year.
That means a number of things. It means grappling with the inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And today, countries and organizations have made new commitments to help get vaccines to vulnerable populations and expand access to testing as well as to treatment. Our pledges today now total more than $3 billion. That’s an unmistakable signal of how countries and organizations spanning the globe continue to be deeply invested in this fight.
Speaking for the United States, our work on COVID with partners around the world has expanded significantly in the past year. We launched the Global Action Plan with 19 partner governments to take on the biggest barriers that remain, like addressing vaccine confidence, solving the so-called “last-mile” challenges in vaccine delivery, cold storage in transit. We’re working with partners to shore up critical supply chains and protect healthcare workers. And these 19 countries have come together to each take responsibility for a different line of effort to meet the goals that we set, whether it’s geographic or functional.
But for purposes of this session and for the purposes that Minister Sadikin outlined so beautifully, we have to look ahead, not only keep up the fight against COVID-19, but to prepare and prevent the next pandemic too. In particular, three areas where we agree, if we work together, we can actually emerge from this pandemic stronger for the future.
First, we have to ensure sustained and consistent funding for global health, to break the cycle of neglect, then panic, then neglect again that we often see when it comes to global health. A dedicated fund for pandemic preparedness and global health security – housed at the World Bank, with the support of the World Health Organization – will help make that happen.
Today – thanks to Italy’s and Indonesia’s leadership in the G20, and with contributions from Germany, the European Commission – we are moving forward to make this fund a reality. The United States will support it, as you’ve heard, with an additional contribution of $200 million, building on the $250 million commitment that we made at last year’s summit.
Second, we need to strengthen our collective capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to health emergencies – not only on the global level but on regional, national, local levels as well. That means better disease surveillance and data sharing; building out our lab networks and health workforces; increasing research and development on effective vaccines; strengthening critical supply chains; expanding the global network of experts. All of this – all of this together – will help us respond more quickly to crises in the future and save lives.
Third and finally, we agree that we must modernize our global health architecture – the institutions, the rules, the norms that govern our cooperation – because this pandemic has shown us that we can and should do better. To that end, the United States strongly supports the efforts underway at the World Health Organization. We want to ensure that, in the future, our collective response is swifter, better coordinated, more equitable, with more countries represented across decision-making as well as execution.
COVID-19 has taught us that when it comes to global health – it’s become a cliché, but it’s powerfully true – none of us are safe until all of us are safe, and furthermore, that our health security is closely interlinked with our economic security and our national security. So we must not waste this very, very hard-won knowledge. Instead, we need to seize the opportunity to come through this pandemic better prepared to prevent and respond to future emergencies.
I’m very much looking forward to hearing from each of you today and to working with you to translate this shared vision into action, into reality.
Thank you. Daleep, back to you.