BAKU, Dec 4 -- Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, said that the movement is pleased to know that the World Health Organisation (WHO) uses the database of NAM as one of its reference points for identifying the existing needs of its member states in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said with the aim to contributing to the global efforts in addressing the unprecedented universal impact of the pandemic and to find out possible ways to provide a prompt, adequate, and inclusive assistance to the member states of the NAM, Azerbaijan, as the Chair of the Movement, convened the online Summit-level Meeting of the NAM Contact Group in response to COVID-19 under the theme “United against COVID-19” on May 4.
“As a practical outcome of this meeting, the Member States of the Movement decided to establish the Task Force in response to COVID-19 and to work out a database on the basic humanitarian and medical needs and requirements of NAM Member States in their fight against COVID-19,” he added.
President Aliyev said NAM praises the activities of the United Nations (UN) system in response to the COVID-19.
“We commend strong leadership of the Secretary-General, who played a central role in spearheading the United Nations’ global response to the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring continuity of operations of the UN Secretariat.
“The Movement fully supports the WHO and its leadership in their critical role in providing guidance, training, equipment, and concrete life-saving services, in order to ensure effective response of the international community to the ever-increasing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the president, whose statement was delivered on behalf of 120 Member States of the NAM.
President Aliyev's speech was made in a video format during a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic, held in New York, which ends today. The speech was made available by Azerbaijan’s State News Agency, AZERTAC.
The special session will serve broad objectives, such as reaffirming and strengthening commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism and highlighting best practices, among others.
The NAM chairman said the pandemic has exposed and aggravated vulnerabilities and inequalities in both developing and developed countries, and among others, deepening poverty and exclusion and pushing the most vulnerable even further behind.
“It is the poorest and most vulnerable who were hit the hardest by this pandemic and NAM is gravely concerned that the further impact of the crisis will reverse hard-won development gains and hamper progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Aliyev said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated existing fundamental impediments, which most recently were addressed during the 18th NAM Summit in 2019 in Baku, such as impacts of global financial and economic crises, continuing lack of resources and underdevelopment of the majority of the developing world, among others.
He said NAM stresses the importance of affordable, unhindered, and equitable access by all countries to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment, which should constitute an integral part of a coordinated and effective global response to COVID-19.
“As many vaccines against COVID-19 are being currently studied, we are all looking forward to the successful outcome of clinical trials and hope that a safe and effective vaccine will soon be available.
“And that they will be considered as global public goods, ensuring their universal distribution at affordable prices for all,” he said.
Aliyev said NAM appreciates the coordination efforts of WHO in this process and stressed the importance of this Organisation in facilitating equitable access of people throughout the globe to such vaccine, once it is available.
He said throughout 2020, the global community has faced the greatest health crisis in recent history, with almost 60 million reported cases and more than one million deaths worldwide as of today, resulting in multifaceted repercussions in health, social, economic, and financial spheres.
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