Ministry Statements & Speeches:
Thank you to the Independent Panel for this briefing.
Aotearoa New Zealand recognises the critical importance of ending the current pandemic and preventing a future one. Right now, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is vital to global recovery from this pandemic.
New Zealand is contributing to accelerated distribution of COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX Facility and providing direct support to Pacific Island countries.
We are also engaged in discussions in the WTO and APEC to remove trade-related barriers to vaccine supply.
We will remain a vocal advocate and active contributor to this cause.
New Zealand recognises that the international community was not adequately prepared for a pandemic like COVID-19.
To prevent a future pandemic, this must change.
New Zealand is committed to playing an active role in global efforts to strengthen the international system for pandemic preparedness and response.
We commend the Independent Panel for its extensive contribution towards this endeavour and are supportive of the ambitious and practical approach outlined in its final report.
New Zealand views the Independent Panel’s proposed reform agenda as playing a pivotal role in advancing global health security.
In this regard, we were encouraged by the establishment of the Member State Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies, to consider formally the Independent Panel’s findings and recommendations.
The international community must work together if we are to ensure that COVID-19 is the last pandemic, and we must all play a part.
It is our intention to not just passively support these recommendations, but to actively engage on work-streams to develop a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument; to improve global surveillance, validation and early response; and to strengthen the World Health Organisation.
We see these areas of work as critical to our collective health and wellbeing, and a new frontier in which we believe New Zealand has a role to play alongside others.
Preparing for the future while COVID-19 is still ongoing will be challenging, in particular for those Member States most currently affected.
However, it is clear that another novel pathogen could emerge at any time and the international community must capture the current focus on global health security and channel this into meaningful action.
New Zealand shares the Independent Panel’s sense of urgency, and conviction that we must put in place measures to ensure COVID-19 is the last pandemic.
We look forward to engaging with other Member States on this issue.