I am honored to join this event, which I believe comes at a pivotal moment for our collective ambition of achieving the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the SDGs.
The covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses of global and national health systems. Furthermore, it has become clear that a pandemic is not only a health crisis, but also an economic and social crisis with serious ramifications for our development finance ambitions.
Covid-19 is deeply unfair in its nature. This pandemic affects us all, but it does not affect us all equally. Once again – as always – the poorest and most vulnerable are hit the hardest.
We have had to act fast and be creative in developing the best possible solutions once the crisis was there. The ACT Accelerator and its vaccine pillar COVAX, is such an example. It is a unique cooperative undertaking, bringing together a variety of public and private actors. Norway is proud to co-chair the Facilitation Council of the ACT-A together with South-Africa to mobilize political and financial support to make Covid-19 vaccines available globally in an equitable manner.
Global cooperation is our only choice against a virus that transcends all borders. Countries worldwide are so interconnected that isolationism will not work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a strong “wake-up call”. We must learn from this crisis and create a more resilient response. And it will need proper and sustainable financing.
We need to take a macroeconomic perspective and not leave the funding to single sectors and budget lines. And that is why I as development minister will engage in finding long term solutions together with my counterparts in other countries.
Let me end with a call to solidarity. We need action to deliver on promises of equitable access. It is unacceptable that only wealthy people in wealthy countries get access to vaccines.
I believe one of the most important lessons learned from this pandemic is to set in place stronger and more resilient health systems that are capable of coping with and preventing future pandemics.
Let us act now and make sure we are better prepared for the future through global collaboration and solidarity.