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Statement on scientific and technological cooperation as a response to the spread of COVID-19

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 11 March 2021.

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Madam Chair,

I give this statement on behalf of Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway.

I thank our esteemed Russian colleague for raising this issue in the Permanent Council. There is no doubt that the ongoing pandemic is affecting all our countries – and it will continue to do so for a long time. It is positive that many countries and private companies have outdone themselves in developing a variety of vaccines in a very short time.

We appreciate that the Helsinki Final Act highlighted that scientific and technological co-operation strengthens security. We are nevertheless uncertain if there is a need to include cooperation on vaccines or other medical issues in the OSCE, especially in a situation where the OSCE’s available resources are steadily decreasing.

There are already international mechanisms in place to fight the pandemic. Co-led by The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness innovations (CEPI), The Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and WHO, the COVAX Facility aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to secure fair and equitable access to safe and affordable vaccines for every country in the world. The COVAX Facility distribute vaccines that have received regulatory approval. and we reaffirm our governments’ full support to the COVAX Facility and its mandate.

Thank you