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UN chief calls on int'l community to donate 35 bln USD to fund anti-COVID-19 program

(Xinhua)    00:12, October 01, 2020

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday urged the international community to donate 35 billion U.S. dollars to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator program.

Two days after his deputy made the same call, the UN chief told a virtual high-level side event that the project -- the only global mechanism with the full spectrum of partners and tools to beat the COVID-19 pandemic, he said -- "needs a quantum leap in support."

"The 3 billion dollars it has received has been critical for the start-up," said the secretary-general. "Now we need to scale-up and ensure maximum impact -- and that requires an additional 35 billion dollars."

"That must begin with an immediate infusion of 15 billion dollars," he added.

Launched at the end of April at an event co-hosted by World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO's ACT-Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, philanthropists and global health organizations to deliver the tools needed to accelerate the end of the pandemic.

Guterres said that these resources are crucial now to avoid losing the window of opportunity for advancing purchase and production, to build stocks in parallel with licensing, to boost research, and to help countries prepare to optimize the new vaccines when they arrive.

"We cannot allow a lag in access to further widen already vast inequalities," he said. "But let's be clear: We will not get there with donors simply allocating resources only from the official development assistance budgets."

Official development assistance is a term coined by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to measure aid.

"We need to think bigger. It is time for countries to draw funding from their own response and recovery programs," the secretary-general said.

"By helping others, they will help themselves," he said. "Investing in the ACT-Accelerator will accelerate every country's own recovery."

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed on Monday called on countries to help fill the gap with 35 billion dollars in order to meet the global goals of COVID-19 vaccine production, treatments and tests.

"The world urgently needs development, production and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 diagnostics therapeutics and vaccines," Mohammed told a hybrid press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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