The ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly (JPA) adopted on Friday a resolution calling on the EU and its member state to provide greater support to ACP countries, especially those with the most vulnerable populations and whose economies and health systems are most precarious.
Following the vote, Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT) said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis that requires a global response. We therefore expect EU member states and ACP countries to cooperate constructively with each other to combat the pandemic within the framework of multilateral institutions. These are needed more than ever and should be strengthened even further, rather than being weakened. None of us are safe until all of us are safe.
As stressed by the World Health Organisation, COVID-19 vaccines should be a global public good that meet everyone’s health needs, regardless of their origin and means. These essential products should not be treated like any other commodity and be used for profit. We must prioritise making safe and affordable vaccines globally available.
We must support ACP countries more with vaccination programmes through the COVAX scheme and by establishing an ACP-EU vaccination agreement. This aims to vaccinate at least a third of Africa’s adult population against COVID-19, roughly around 235 million people, in the next twelve months and a further 33% the following year. To achieve this, the EU and the African Union would have to raise around €4 billion. Thanks to the EU’s contribution and that of its member states, several ACP countries like Ghana, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Fiji, Nigeria and Angola have already been able to benefit from immunisation against COVID-19 through the COVAX scheme.
COVAX aims to purchase two billion doses by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion doses for low- and middle-income countries. The EU and its member states have pledged to fund more than a third of COVAX with a total of €2.2 billion.
Finally, it is clear that competition and restrictive measures between countries on access to medical devices, personal protective equipment, screening and vaccines are leading to production being disrupted and higher prices. It is therefore essential that vaccine-producing countries have the political will to encourage governments to collectively ensure that supply chains remain open.”