Commonwealth Extends Support to WHO as part of the “COVID-19 Response”
Commonwealth issues joint statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting its innovative approaches such as the Access to COVID19 Tools.
Commonwealth leaders from all 54 member states have today issued a joint statement on the COVID-19 pandemic and steps that member states are taking to fight the pandemic and to work together in support of each other and broader global efforts.
Commonwealth Commitments in Fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and Related Crisis
- Upholding the rule of law, consistency with relevant international treaties
- Ensuring that the measures taken are transparent and reasonable and that they do not disproportionately impact the human rights and fundamental freedoms of any of our citizen
- Continue the fight against hate speech, targeting of vulnerable groups and all forms of discrimination, particularly those arising from the pandemic – whether rooted in age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, political, economic or other grounds.
- Take necessary measures to counter the spread of misinformation and disinformation, online and offline, including manipulated media that incites violence and divides communities, while ensuring that any action respects human rights.
- Ensure equitable access to quality essential health services and safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines for all, particularly the most vulnerable and high-risk populations such as older persons, people with disabilities, and others who are more likely to have a pre-existing health condition.
- Support the World Health Organization, whose leadership on global health issues within the broader international response is pivotal; and fulfilling the commitments contained in Resolution WHA73.1 “COVID-19 Response” adopted at the 73rd World Health Assembly, including to independent, impartial and comprehensive evaluation of the COVID-19 response.
- Intensify the collective efforts and welcome the commitment of health ministers at the32nd meeting to deliver a coordinated response.
- Work collaboratively to facilitate and support research and development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, and innovative approaches such as the Access to COVID19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator
- Support timely, equitable, and affordable access to health products and health technologies, including potential vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and medical supplies for all who need them.
- Support the continued-flow of these vital medical supplies, commodities and equipment, agricultural and food products, and other essential goods and services across borders to further support our citizens’ health, and mitigate the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.
- Focus on the long-term commitments to health and wellbeing, including non-communicable diseases (NCDs), nutrition, access to domestic and gender-based violence services, women’s and girls’ health, maternal health, sexual and reproductive health, as well as providing other essential services such as water, sanitation and hygiene.
- Strengthen preparedness, detection, and response capacities, in line with the WHO’s 2005 International Health Regulations, taking a One Health approach.
Combined Social, Health and Economic Impacts of This Virus on the Commonwealth
Speaking on the release of the Statement, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, QC said:
“As the Coronavirus swept through the world spreading in ways we could not have imagined, the Commonwealth can be immensely proud of the way our leaders, governments and institutions have worked together to respond.”
“And, we should also be proud of the innovative partnerships and new approaches we have taken to protect our healthcare systems and the well-being of all our people – especially those who are most at risk.”
“For many of our member states the combined social, health and economic impacts of this virus joined with the growing threat of climate change mean they are facing a fight for their very existence.”
“But as we are all impacted by the global pandemic, we must all remain united against pandemic and ensure that the legacy left after its devastating course has run should be one of peace, prosperity and development. This is why we must redouble our commitment to working with our international partners to address COVID-19 and its far-reaching consequences. Because it is only through working together and a continued commitment to multilateralism that we will be able to build resilience, particularly for developing economies and the vulnerable small, developing and least developed, countries so as to ensure no one is left behind.”
“I want to thank all of our member states for their continuing joint commitment to tackle the pandemic and its impacts and to thank the Chair in Office for their support to the Secretariat in preparing this leadership statement on COVID-19.”
The full Commonwealth COVID-19 joint statement, issued today on behalf of all 54 member states can be found here.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and sovereign countries. It spans the globe, including both advanced economies and developing countries, in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe and the Pacific. Its combined population is 2.4 billion, of which more than 60 percent is aged under 30. The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member countries to build democratic and inclusive institutions, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights.