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Communique of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement on affordable, timely, equitable and universal access by all countries to COVID-19 vaccines

1. The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (CoB-NAM) reiterates its serious concern over the continued rapid spread of the COVID-19, which poses a major challenge to humanity. The pandemic has exposed and aggravated vulnerabilities and inequalities in both developing and developed countries, and also among them, deepening poverty and exclusion and pushing the most vulnerable even further behind.
2. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM emphasizes a key role played by the Movement in mobilizing and strengthening global efforts in addressing the multidimensional impacts of the pandemic and recalls with satisfaction the establishment of the NAM Contact Group in response to COVID-19 and its Summit-level Meeting held on 4 May 2020, the Database of medical and humanitarian needs of NAM Member States in response to COVID-19, worked out by the Task Force established pursuant to the decision of the mentioned Summit-level Meeting, as well as the Special Session of the UN General Assembly dedicated to COVID-19 convened upon the initiative of NAM. These initiatives have provided Movement’s invaluable contribution to strengthening of multilateralism in the face of emerging global challenges.
3. The Coordinating Bureau of the NAM recognizes that it is through a coordinated and concerted global response based on unity, multilateral cooperation, solidarity and respect for human rights that the international community can craft strategies to mitigate effects of COVID-19 and recover from the pandemic. In that regard, it is necessary to set aside all political ideologies and discrimination for the sake of all humankind.
4. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM expresses its serious concern over the disparity in distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 between developing and developed countries which prevents the entire international community to achieve the complete elimination of the pandemic as soon as possible. The CoB-NAM notes that since the beginning of vaccination more than 90% of all vaccines that have been administered to date have been concentrated in high-income countries and some middle-income countries, while low-income countries are still lagging behind in gaining access to the COVID-19 vaccines supply compared to high income countries. We therefore support the COVAX Facility to this end and the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Engagement Group to secure doses for 92 low- and lower middle- income economies as the main multilateral mechanism to ensure fair access and equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner. The CoB-NAM calls for equitable, affordable, and fair access, availability and distribution of vaccines between developing and developed countries, while stressing that health and other frontline workers, vulnerable and aged people in all affected countries should be the first to receive the vaccine. The Non-Aligned Movement welcomes the contribution made to the COVAX facility by the Global South, keeping within the principles of South-South cooperation.
5. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM expresses its strong condemnation at the promulgation and application of unilateral coercive measures against Member States of the Movement, that are applied in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, further expresses its support, in accordance with international law, to the States affected by such measures, and urges the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of such measures, that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or the Charter of the United Nations, with a view to ensure the effectiveness of national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM further expresses its serious concern at the decision of certain States to create mechanisms that limit the export of vaccines and medical supplies to third countries, which is negatively affecting, primarily, the efforts of the developing world to effectively combat the pandemic.
7. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM further notes with concern the reported negative impacts Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) can have on the international efforts to ensure equal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
8. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM underlines the importance of multilateral legal agreements in ensuring global health security and urges to close the funding gap for the ACT Accelerator and the COVAX facility.
9. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM notes, in this regard, the UN Secretary General’s acknowledgement of the situation as “global emergency” and his affirmation that “vaccine nationalism” is a moral and economic failure and that “a global immunity gap puts everyone at risk”. A global vaccination campaign to deal with a global pandemic should be based on unity, solidarity, political will and multilateral cooperation and reflect unhindered, timely access to quality, safe, efficacious, and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines. Access to vaccines and treatments as global public goods are in the interest of all humanity. In this context, we welcome and support the efforts of the COVAX Facility, as well as other related constructive initiatives, in facilitating the fair and equitable access and allocation of vaccines, in particular the COVAX Advance Market Commitment mechanism, which supports the access of low and lower-middle income countries to COVID-19 vaccines. We also acknowledge the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), and support for this Global Initiative.
10. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM calls on all States, international organizations and relevant stakeholders to commit to transparency in all matters related to the production, distribution and fair pricing of the vaccines.
11. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM takes note of the warning by the World Health Organization Director General on increased threat of coronavirus mutation without equitable distribution of vaccines across the globe. The CoB-NAM also takes note of the continuing discussions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the proposal by fellow Member States India and South Africa, and co-sponsored by Bolivia, Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique and Pakistan, to issue a waiver from certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) related to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the support of this proposal by the Director General of the World Health Organization, while encouraging developed countries to provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to LDCs in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. The CoB-NAM calls upon COVID-19 vaccine producers to set commitments on providing vaccines to developing countries on a universal and non-discriminatory basis and at affordable prices.
12. A successful global response to the pandemic must be built on concrete actions that ensure universal access to effective COVID-19 medicines, diagnostics and vaccines. It is necessary that the development and use of health technologies needed to combat COVID-19 continues to be encouraged. In this regard, Member States should explore and use fully the existing policy and legal measures, including flexibilities under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.
13. The Coordinating Bureau of the NAM stresses the importance of affordable, timely, equitable and universal access by all countries to the vaccines against COVID-19 and appreciates the coordination efforts of the WHO in this process, while recognizing the importance, in this regard, and expressing its support for both the COVAX mechanism and the ACT-Accelerator and calling for their strengthening and full funding.
14. The Coordinating Bureau of the NAM acknowledges that a high level of ethical and humanist commitment is required, where solidarity and selfless cooperation prevail in order to provide the peoples in need with vaccines against COVID-19 which must be considered as global public goods that are accessible to all.
15. The Coordinating Bureau of the NAM calls on all states, international organizations, international donor community, vaccine producers and other stakeholders to ensure affordable, timely, equitable and universal access to and fair distribution of the vaccines against COVID-19 for all.
16. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM recognizes the immense logistical challenges caused by the lack of infrastructure related to the distribution of vaccine in developing countries and calls for greater assistance and capacities building of developing countries in this regard.
17. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM acknowledges the fiscal challenges faced by developing countries during the times of current crisis, which have relegated them to a disadvantaged position for financing the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and therefore urges the developed countries, international financial institutions, and private creditors to provide necessary fiscal space to the developing countries through debt relief, and appropriate measures for financing and debt sustainability, including through issuance of new Special Drawing Rights.
18. The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement stresses that the encouragement and development of international contacts and cooperation in the scientific and cultural fields serve the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, bearing in mind that everyone has the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.
19. The Coordinating Bureau of NAM encourages wider engagement of NAM Member States within the Task Force in response to COVID-19 to ensure equitable access by NAM Member States to vaccines and to update and integrate the Database on medical and humanitarian needs of NAM Member States in response to COVID-19 to the WHO vaccine distribution networks and programs.
20. The Coordinating Bureau of the NAM expresses its deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones as a result of COVID-19, expresses its solidarity with all those who are currently struggling with and recovering from COVID-19 and recognizes the enormous contribution and dedication of medical personnel and health care providers in this humanitarian emergency.
New York, 5 March 2021


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