The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D.,spoke at a UN Security Council meeting on the impact of COVID-19 on global peace and security on 17 February 2021. The meeting focused on COVID-19 vaccines and the principle of equitable access, particularly for those in fragile and conflict-affected states. (Minister Coveney Appears at Approx 1:40:00 into the video)
The meeting was held as part of the UK Presidency of the Security Council and was chaired by Secretary of State Dominic Raab. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide also participated.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister Coveney highlighted the moral and practical necessities of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, including in conflict-affected areas, saying:
“We need to be more ambitious in scaling-up the availability of vaccines in conflict-affected zones, and in financing the necessary delivery modalities, while avoiding diverting funds from existing crises.
Parties to conflicts must… facilitate humanitarian access, uphold ceasefires and implement pauses in fighting to enable medical humanitarian teams to undertake their vital functions, including safely delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to those who need it the most.”
The Minister also underlined the need to strengthen healthcare systems in developing countries to enable vaccine rollout, saying:
“Ireland is fully committed to efforts by the UN system to establish a fair, transparent, and efficient mechanism for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution and supply.
In this regard, Ireland has increased our core support to GAVI by 20 per cent.
Ireland attaches high priority to global health, in which we plan to invest at least €50m in 2021.”
As part of our development cooperation programme, Ireland has worked with partner governments in a range of African countries for over two decades to strengthen health care capacity and build robust health systems.
17 February 2021
Notes to Editors:
- The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2532 in July 2020 endorsing the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire and humanitarian pause to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure access to those in need.
- This meeting of the Security Council was called by the UK, as Council Presidency for February, to discuss implementation of Resolution 2532 (2020), with a focus on equitable access to vaccines, particularly for those in fragile and conflict-affected states.
- The meeting is available to view on UN Web TV: http://webtv.un.org/.
- Minister Coveney was one of 12 Foreign Ministers participating in the debate.