Pandemic Action Network’s statement at the United Nations Multistakeholder Hearing in Preparation for the High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response.
Madame Chair, esteemed co-chairs, ladies and gentlemen, all protocols duly observed.
I am Aggrey Aluso of Kenya. I am here today on behalf of the Pandemic Action Network, a global coalition of more than 350 partners. We come from different countries, regions, sectors, and backgrounds, so we don’t agree on everything.
But we are united on the belief that keeping humanity safe from pandemics demands urgent action by all of us, most especially our top political leaders.
Three years into a deadly and costly pandemic, this is the first time world leaders will come together at the UN to discuss pandemic preparedness. We must be bold with our ambitions.
Each day, more than 1,000 lives are lost due to COVID-19. That alone should be reason for urgency.
I am here today to appeal to your sense of social justice.
Your excellencies, 80 organizations signed a letter urging world leaders to issue a powerful and action-oriented High Level Declaration on Pandemic Preparedness, Prevention and Response this September. We ask you to submit our letter to the record for this hearing.
I will summarize three key points:
First, political leadership and financing. Covid has shown that pandemics are not only a health threat, they are a threat to our collective security, our economies, our societies, and to achievement of the SDGs. As such, they demand sustained attention and leadership by heads of state and government, not only health ministers. That is why we are calling for creation of a leader-level council, and for all governments to contribute toward full financing for the Pandemic Fund.
Second, accountability. We call for a robust set of monitoring and accountability mechanisms in the High Level Declaration, starting with a progress review in 12 months at the Summit for the Future.
Third, equity. To this day, Africans still have a fraction of the Covid vaccines, tests and treatments that people in high-income countries take for granted. This high level meeting must produce agreement on a platform and a plan to ensure timely, equitable, and affordable global access to, and delivery of, pandemic countermeasures, and it must be designed and convened by low- and middle-income country partners.
With millions of lives lost and economies ravaged from this pandemic, progress toward the SDGs is badly off track.
Consider this: the day after the High Level Meeting, if a new pandemic were to strike. Would member states say they exhausted all options to prevent another crisis?
Leaders must show up and use both this High Level Meeting and Declaration to commit to stop the cycle of panic and neglect once and for all – and take the steps necessary to ensure that every country, every community, and our global system is better prepared and more resilient for tomorrow’s threats.
Statement was delivered by Pandemic Action Network’s Africa Region Director and Policy Lead Aggrey Aluso on May 9, 2023.