Terming Covid-19 a common enemy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has placed six proposals before the global leaders to fight the deadly virus with fresh, inclusive and effective ideas.
“Sadly though, this malaise (Covid-19) seems to be here for a while, and therefore, as we had in the past, must come forth with fresh, inclusive, and global ideas to fight this common enemy. Let me highlight a few specific issues in this regard,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while delivering her speech in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) debate at the UN Headquarters on Friday.
Address vaccine inequality
In her first proposal, Hasina said for a Covid-free world, “We must ensure universal and affordable access to vaccines for people across the world.”
In the last UNGA, Hasina said, she called for treating Covid-19 vaccines as a ‘global public good.’ This was echoed by many other leaders. “Yet these calls remain largely unheeded. Instead, we’ve seen growing ‘vaccines divides’ between the rich and the poor nations.”
According to the World Bank, she said, 84 percent of vaccine doses have so far gone to people in high and upper middle-income countries, while the low-income countries received less than 1 percent.
“This vaccine inequality must be urgently addressed. We cannot chart out a sustainable recovery and be safe by leaving millions behind,” she said.
She also said immediate transfer of vaccine technologies could be a means to ensure vaccine equity. Bangladesh is ready to produce vaccines in mass scale if technical know-how is shared with us and patent waiver is granted.
Covid’s disproportionate impacts
In the second proposal, she said the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the climate vulnerable countries. “Unless there are immediate measures, the devastating impacts of climate change will be irreversible. No country, rich or poor, is immune to the destructive effects. We, therefore, call upon the rich and industrialised countries to cut emissions, compensate for the loss and damage, and ensure adequate financing and technology transfer for adaptation and resilience building.”
She said as the Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance, Bangladesh has launched the “Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan – Decade 2030” outlining a transformative agenda from climate vulnerability to climate prosperity.
She said the upcoming COP-26 Summit in Glasgow provides a good opportunity to rally support for such new and inclusive ideas. “Let us not miss out on this opportunity.”