Regional Conversation Series 2021: 30 November, Equitable Access to Vaccines, Diagnostics and Therapeutics (UNESCAP)

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30 November 2021, 14:00 PM - 16:00 PM UTC +7 | Open meeting

The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly exposed the inequalities between, and within, countries in access to vaccines, medicines and diagnostics. The pandemic also has accentuated the existing weaknesses and deficiencies in the health systems of countries, in terms of financing, human resources and technologies. The World Health Organization (WHO), other United Nations (UN) entities and multilateral development banks have initiated concrete steps to support countries in promoting access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics through resource mobilization, coordination and international cooperation. However, much more needs to be done to ensure equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

Against this background, this Regional Conversation brings together member States, the UN system as well as other stakeholders to understand the impact of these initiatives on the region. The event is the start of a conversation that would identify gaps and challenges and ways to address them through actions at global, regional and national levels. The specific role of regional cooperation to enhance universal access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics will be explored. The Conversation is also expected to serve as forum for the UN system at large to share and consult Asia-Pacific member States on the implementation of various initiatives on the ground.

Some of the key questions to be addressed at the regional conversation include the following:

1. How can we build upon good examples of partnerships between research entities, academia and the private sector for rapid upscaling of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics?

2. What kinds of mechanisms could be developed or strengthened to promote pooled manufacture and procurement of vaccines and therapeutics?

3. How can countries help each other to develop their national capacities for the production of vaccines and therapeutics, and what regional standards and guidelines would be needed?

4. What are key points of intersection between trade laws and policies and vaccine manufacture, procurement and distribution, and how can this be managed within international law?

5. What needs to be in place in terms of logistics and planning at the ground level for rapid and equitable deployment of vaccination programmes?

6. What is the role of the UN system in supporting countries and how are WHO and the multilateral development banks supporting countries in this regard? How can the UN system better support countries in this regard?

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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