Speech by Foreign Minister Baerbock at the High-Level-Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, a side event of the 78th UN General Assembly

20.09.2023 - Speech

Millions dead. Tens of millions pushed into poverty. More domestic violence tormenting women and girls. And entire economies in turmoil. These are devastating effects of the COVID pandemic.

As an international community, we managed to contain the virus. But the truth is: together, we also fell short in our response. We did not succeed in distributing vaccines quickly and fairly enough to all people around the globe.

We cannot undo such past failures. But together, we can learn from them – and build a better future, saving millions of lives.

That is why my country Germany and the European Union are committed to helping build a stronger global health system:

First, we support an ambitious pandemic agreement covering the entire pandemic cycle from monitoring animal health to more data sharing among scientists to the fair distribution of vaccines and medication – also for the last mile.

Second, we are working with partners to set up local vaccine production in all world regions – particularly in Africa: Germany and the EU are contributing 1.1 billion euro – not only to build production plants, but also to train factory workers and experts and to make African vaccines competitive on local markets.

Third, Germany is contributing 119 million euro to the Pandemic Fund, which is supporting countries’ efforts to modernise their labs so they can detect new viruses – or close gaps in cold chains when transporting vaccines.

Because Germany and the European Union are committed to solidarity as enshrined in our UN Charter. Even while Russia’s brutal war of aggression is raging on European soil we are not forgetting that we have a common global responsibility.

This is also in our self-interest. Because a virus knows no borders. That is why supporting the most vulnerable also means safeguarding ourselves.

Because, in an interconnected world, global health is only as strong as its weakest link.

And, during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe.


Top of page