Remarks by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the COVID-19 Action Plan Ministerial

08.02.2023 - Speech

“No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

When we launched the Global Action Plan last year, we all committed to turning this pledge into action.

Since then, we’ve advanced multilateral efforts to push back the virus:

Together, we delivered nearly a billion doses of safe and effective vaccines.

We provided frontline health workers – mostly women – with safety glasses, gowns, gloves and test kits – things they need urgently to protect themselves, while helping others.

And, most importantly, we worked hard to turn vaccines into vaccinations, getting more shots into people’s arms:

With our last mile initiative, we provided motorbikes to transport doctors to remote villages – and solar-powered fridges to bring vaccines to children, women and men living in places with high temperatures in more than 100 countries.

Our work actually made a difference – it saved lives.

That is why I would like to thank you, Tony, for bringing us together.

I also want to thank Japan – dear Yoshimasa Hayashi – which now has the G7 Presidency, for continuing the work on global health that guided Germany’s G7 Presidency last year.

And I praise Indonesia and India, as former and current G20 Presidencies, for keeping the pandemic and global health on the international agenda.

With our friends and partners, we are sending a clear message:

We are standing up for the most vulnerable, for cooperation and solidarity as it is enshrined in the UN Charter – even while Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is raging on European soil.

That is key – because, as many have already said, much remains to be done.

The plain truth is: as the international community, we have not managed to distribute vaccines fairly to all people on the planet.

In many places, vaccination rates remain low – especially where people are already suffering from poverty and wars, and where the climate crisis is hitting entire regions with ever-stronger droughts and storms.

This failure does not only threaten the lives of millions of children, women and men – it is also a risk to our global and national security:

We’ve seen how the pandemic has killed people, pushed millions into poverty, affected women and girls with higher levels of domestic violence, prevented children from going to school and contributed to conflict within and between states.

We cannot undo mistakes that were made in the past – but together, we can learn from them.

That is why we, as foreign ministers, will remain engaged for global health, together with the World Health Organisation.

And it’s why Germany stands ready to negotiate a pandemic agreement that – drawing lessons from COVID-19 – will prepare us for future health crises:

By investing in the training of our health workers. By strengthening the resilience of health systems. By advancing joint surveillance against new viruses and thereby increasing transparency. And by producing more and better vaccines everywhere.

Because, friends, “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Thank you.


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