Shomporko Desk:-OTTAWA – Canada contributed $300 million on Saturday towards the universal battle against COVID-19, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined fellow leaders, activists and philanthropists in calling for a vaccine to be distributed to the world’s neediest people.
Trudeau announced the new funds in another virtual international fundraiser – this one sponsored by an organization, Global Citizen, that raised almost $9.5 billion in pledges.
“COVID-19 has changed the lives of individuals all over, and it has featured imbalances around the globe,” Trudeau said. “None of us have been saved from the impacts of COVID-19 and none of us can beat it alone.”
Canada’s contribution includes $180 million to address the immediate humanitarian and development impacts of the pandemic and $120 million towards a new initiative called the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
The ACT Accelerator was created in April by the World Health Organization, the French government, the European Commission and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure equitable access to medical treatments. It supports organizations, health professionals and businesses in their efforts to develop a vaccine, as well as drug therapies and diagnostic tools to battle the pandemic.
Trudeau said the pandemic has hit vulnerable populations especially hard and the ACT Accelerator will ensure that when a vaccine is found, it will be able to reach all the people who need it.
“We’re also committed to working with countries around the world on how we can pool procurement efforts to make sure all countries have access to the vaccine,” said Trudeau.
Sir Andrew Witty, the former chief executive of the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, said a vaccine would normally take 10 to 15 years to develop, but the COVID-19 outbreak is forcing companies and universities to find one or more viable vaccines in one-tenth that time, or quicker.
Witty said the pandemic has forced unprecedented co-operation between “industrial partners, biotech companies, government, universities” to swiftly find new treatments as well as a vaccine.
There has been widespread concern that President Donald Trump might adopt a go-it-alone approach if a vaccine were discovered in the United States first.
However, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, offered an olive branch to the conference when she announced Washington’s new pledge of almost $750 million.
“Together we must work in an open, transparent and supportive manner to build a safer, more resilient world,” said Craft, who previously served as Trump’s envoy to Canada.
The aid agencies and anti-poverty groups are crediting International Development Minister Karina Gould for being one of the strongest advocates they have seen for their sector around the federal cabinet table.
Global Citizen bills itself as the world’s largest anti-poverty advocacy group and it organized Saturday’s pledging conference as well a star-studded evening concert that is to be live-streamed across the world.
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
News source: The Canadian Press