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Speeches & Transcripts November 12, 2020

Remarks by World Bank Managing Director Mari Pangestu at the Paris Peace Forum

Ensuring global equity of access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics for low-income and middle-income countries is a priority because it is only through this access that countries will be able to alter the course of the pandemic,  save lives, rebuilt livelihoods, and recover their economies. Without equal access to effective treatments and vaccines, there will be a loss of decades of development gains, as well as a rise of poverty in these countries. 

Our experience with the eradication of polio and other infectious diseases tell us that without support, developing countries can wait for many, many years before they can access vaccines. This is why we have launched our vaccine financing program with $12 billion to ensure that developing countries, low- and middle-income countries can access and deploy vaccines. With this program, we hope to be able to vaccinate up to 1 billion people. We are working closely with partners, including UN agencies, CEPI and Gavi and the ACT- Accelerator and the COVAX facility as well as with countries themselves to provide financing as well as technical support to access and deploy vaccines, therapeutics as well as diagnostics on the ground. 

I just want to emphasize that we are not just helping or providing support to countries for accessing the vaccine, but also to deliver the vaccination program itself. And this is about setting up the infrastructure and the delivery systems on the ground to be able to vaccinate at scale, as well as at speed. 

In terms of the ACT Accelerator and the COVAX facility, the World Bank supports fully the COVAX facility because it is intended to provide global, equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to the poorest and most vulnerable countries. 

And therefore, through our financing, we are giving countries the option to choose the best way they can access vaccines as well as ensure their delivery, including through the COVAX facility. We will be working with the COVAX facility and Gavi, to ensure and enable that countries can be best served to be able to access vaccines in an equitable way, and hopefully in timely way because I think early access is an important issue if we are going to be able to alter the course of the pandemic, and therefore, rebuild lives and the livelihoods and economies. 

Thank you.