2nd Conference on State Fragility
Pandemics, Vaccination and Solidarity: Implications in Fragile Countries
Monday, 28th of June 2021
Excellency Joao Ribeiro de Almeida, President of Camoes
Excellency Pekka Haavisto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland
Excellencies Ministers from fellow g7+ Countries, Invited Speakers
Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Eminent person of g7+
Excellency David Cameron, Co-Chair of the Council on State Fragility
Excellency Luis Amado, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the EDP Group Company
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning from Freetown, Sierra Leone. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
At the outset, I would like to welcome you all to the 2nd conference on state fragility; “Pandemics, Vaccination and Solidarity: Implications in Fragile Countries”. I thank the g7+ secretariat and Club of Lisbon for organizing this conference, the theme of which speaks to the heart of overcoming the crises the world is going through.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!
COVID-19, by several measures, is the unprecedented crisis of our generation. Of course humanity had gone through even worse man-made and natural calamities over the history.
But this pandemic affected us in a unique way. It befell on us in time where the world is much progressed on every front than it was during the past time pandemics.
The blessing of scientific advancement has made such crises as controllable challenges.
The globalization which is often cited to be responsible for the rapid spread of corona virus, has made such crises easily manageable. Regional and global integration and partnership modals have empowered us to curb such catastrophes more effectively and efficiently than we could ever do in the history. Multilateralism has equipped us to overcome challenges of a scale; even severer than the pandemic.
Had we harnessed the blessing of science, globalization, multilateralism and cooperation, corona virus would not have even turned in to pandemic. Therefore, the most pressing questions we owe to answer are:
- Why the world failed in curbing the pandemic which is now in its second year.
- How severe and how long will its impact last?
- What has been missing in the global response to the pandemic?
- How can we ensure we come out of this crisis all at once?
- How confident are we that no one will be left behind?
This conference is an important opportunity to explore answers to these questions!
Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen!
However global the pandemic is, conflict affected fragile countries such as those in the g7+ are the worst impacted by its immediate and long-lasting direct and indirect consequences. Owing to our institutional and economic fragility and the ongoing conflicts, our countries are prone to an adverse impact of such crises. Our countries have been so vulnerable that even the globally adapted counter-measures started to worsen the situation. Considering these multifaceted effects, the g7+ issued a join call last year with 4 big asks namely:
“ceasefire, care for displaced people, strengthening health system and support for institutions and self-reliance”.
We had expected that the onset of the pandemic will induce empathy and solidarity and, therefore, the call for ceasefire would be respected. We had anticipated that regional cooperation will take new forms where it will rest on humane solidarity rather than mere vested political and economic interest. Our hope was that the rich nations of the world join hands to curb this crisis while leaving behind political differences.
But to our dismay, the opposite happened. Conflicts in form of insurgency, terrorism and civil war escalated in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Central African Republic, Yemen and etc.
Regional and global powers adapted a “first me” approach and hence used the global measures such as lock down to close borders on the face of trade and movement. This affected the least developed peers and in particular conflict affected countries like those in g7+. Trade
The world powers started reacting to this crisis not with solidarity, but with hatred and blaming.
This is a gloomy picture that daunted us many. However, the recent development gives us a hope that we will develop compassion instead of hatred; global solidarity will win over narrow sense of hegemonic quest; our generosity will win over greed and hence help those most in need.
Against this background, I would like to leave you with few points that might to be food for thought in the sessions of this conference:
First: We cannot defeat the virus, our common enemy, until we overcome our differences at any level. First and foremost, we need to do everything to stop wars anywhere. We need to use all tracks of diplomacy to pursue global ceasefire and reconciliation. The UN with should establish a high level council to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation. The g7+ is willing to cooperate in this regard by lending our experience.
Second: Multilateralism is the only vehicle that can help in overcoming any shared challenge such as covid-19 and its long lasting impacts. We call upon the United Nations to take lead in the global response to the pandemic. We urge regional organizations such as European Union, African Union, ASEAN and etc to cooperate and adapt regional policies that can act as catalyst to overcome the impact of covid-19
Third: We welcome the initiative of COVAX. Furthermore, we are happy to hear the recent commitments made during the G7 meeting. However, the need of vaccination over run the available supply. In addition, we are concerned with the preferential treatment in immunization. In particular, poor countries such as those in the g7+ are at the risk of being left behind. Therefore, we urge vaccine producing countries to waive the patent in production of vaccination. This will help in speeding up the much needed vaccination of the world. Remember that no one is safe until everyone is safe.
Finally: The covid-19 pandemic has unleased the fragility in global systems and mechanisms; the phenomenon we the fragile countries have lived for decades. Therefore we would like to reiterate the need to help in overcoming state fragility. Fragile countries have relied on foreign assistance for decades. Now is the time to use that assistance in pursuing stability and self-reliance in these countries. This will require adapting paradigm shift in the way we have managed assistance. We urge donors to realize the New deal principles which are ever relevant to our contexts.
I thank you for your attention and wish you fruitful deliberation.