UNGA President says vaccinating world New Year’s top priority

United Nations, Sept. 12, 2020 (Xinhua) — The UN General Assembly votes on draft resolution A/74/L.92 under agenda item 14 entitled “Comprehensive and coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic” at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 11, 2020. The General Assembly on Friday adopted an “omnibus” resolution to encourage international cooperation in response to COVID-19. The resolution, which was adopted 169-2 with two abstentions, identifies international cooperation, multilateralism and solidarity as the only way for the world to effectively respond to global crises such as COVID-19. “UN General Assembly adopts resolution on COVID-19” (Eskinder Debebe/UN/Handout via Xinhua/IANS)

United Nations (New York), Dec 15 (IANS) Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), has said that his first goal for the New Year is to vaccinate the world and achieve vaccine equity so that normalcy can return to the entire world at an earlier date.

“My top priority is going to be on vaccine. That is why I am convening this high-level meeting on January 13. That is why I want to make my New Year resolution on vaccine,” the UNGA President, or the PGA, told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York while responding to the question regarding his top priorities for the year ahead.

Shahid will host the high-level event ‘Towards Universal Vaccination: From Hope to Action’ in January 2022 when he hopes to bring all 193 UN member states together and adopt a resolution on the Covid-19 vaccine, Xinhua news agency reported.

“In my life, last several decades, I’ve had many New Year resolutions, but this time I’m choosing a more modest one — to vaccinate the world. I want everyone to join me,” he stressed.

The PGA expressed the confidence that “the international community has the capacity to do this. And it is so clear now that unless we can vaccinate the world, there is no way out of this.”

On UN’s target to vaccinate 40 per cent of the entire population by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by the middle of 2022, the PGA said that the goal has not been achieved yet.

“When you look at countries in Africa where they have an average vaccination rate of maximum 5 or 6 per cent. Then we are unable to say with confidence that we are anywhere near to equity. So, for us, for the 193 member states at the UN, we should have this goal — one goal — to vaccinate the world,” he added.

“Unless we can vaccinate the world, economy recover is not coming, social and educational normalcy returning to normalcy is not going to happen. Any degree of certainty to the way of life that we have had in the past is not going to happen,” the PGA said.

Shahid warned that under the situation that new variants emerge one after another, “the new normal will be pushed again further and further into the unknown territories. This, we cannot afford, and that is why we need to get together for the effort, a united effort.”

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