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Strong cooperation to help int’l community defeat COVID-19: PM Phuc

By harnessing the will and power of each nation and strengthening solidarity and cooperation, the international community will win the battle against COVID-19, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in his message to the UN General Assembly’s special session on COVID-19 response.

Opening the event that took place on December 3-4, President of the 75th session of UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life for everyone around the world. It has challenged our world in ways unlike any other crisis in the 75-year history of the United Nations.”

He held that COVID-19 is a global health crisis but also an economic crisis, a development crisis, a humanitarian crisis, and a human rights crisis, pointing out the necessity to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines, protect the most vulnerable, leave no one behind, and ensure that the policies implemented to combat the pandemic do not undermine the democratic institutions that underpin the long-term health of economies and societies.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believed that to cope with COVID-19 in the time ahead, priority needs to be given to stronger health systems and universal health coverage.

He appealed to developed countries to fulfil their long-standing promise to provide 100 billion USD annually to support developing countries in reaching the shared climate goals.

In the special session’s general debate, PM Phuc said in his remarks sent to the event that to win the battle against COVID-19, countries need to uphold the central role of the UN, step up policy coordination, take collective action, and champion international cooperation and multilateral efforts in global governance.

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, Vietnam reiterates its support for the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire, lifting of unilateral sanctions, and provision of humanitarian assistance in the fight against COVID-19, he said.

He called on countries to put the interest of people in the core of all policies and actions, noting that the top priority should be to protect the lives and health of the people and ensure universal and affordable access to vaccines and treatments.

Countries also need to actively adapt to the “new normal” for sustainable development, PM Phuc said, “In addition to pandemic containment, we should simultaneously promote economic recovery, facilitate cross-border trade, investment and travel, and maintain supply chains of essential goods, food and medical equipment.”

“Countries should not lose sight of commitments with regard to the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 and climate action. In particular, developing countries should receive financial, commercial, and technical assistance in realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals as needed.”

The PM went on to say that Vietnam has managed to contain COVID-19, ensured social security, and restored growth, thanking the UN and international organisations for the meaningful support and cooperation extended to the country.

As the 2020 ASEAN Chair, Vietnam has worked with fellow member states in putting forth initiatives in COVID-19 response such as the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, the Strategic Framework for Public Health Emergencies, and the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

It has also proposed a range of ideas and initiatives within the UN framework and engaged in discussions with fellow members to adopt resolutions and documents for enhancing international cooperation in COVID-19 response, according to him.

He added the Vietnamese Government, organisations, businesses, and people have also gifted domestically produced medical supplies to many countries hard-hit by the pandemic, shared experience, and made donations to international funds on COVID-19 despite financial constraints.

The PM expressed his belief that the international community will emerge triumphant and build a brighter future for each and every country and individual by harnessing the will and power of each nation, and strengthening solidarity and cooperation./.