New Delhi: Current and previous world leaders, economists and public health advocates have signed open letters urging governments of all countries to provide free COVID-19 vaccines for everyone.

The letter, coordinated by UNAID and Oxfam, contained the signatures of 140 prominent people including the President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall and President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

This requires that all vaccines, treatments and tests must be patent free, distributed fairly and available to everyone, in all countries, free of charge.

UNAID, in its press release, called the letter “the most ambitious position set by world leaders regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Complete letter and list of signatories below:

Humankind today, in all their fragility, is looking for an effective and safe vaccine against COVID-19. This is our best hope to stop this painful global pandemic.

We call on the Minister of Health in the World Health Assembly to urge behind the vaccine of people against this disease immediately. Governments and international partners must unite in a global guarantee that ensures that, when safe and effective vaccines are developed, vaccines are produced quickly on a scale and available to everyone, in all countries, free of charge. The same applies to all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19.

We recognize that many countries and international organizations are making progress towards this goal, working together multilaterally on research and development, funding and access, including the $ 8 billion welcome pledged on 4th Maybe. Thanks to tireless public and private sector efforts and billions of dollars from publicly funded research, many vaccine candidates continue at an unprecedented pace and some have begun clinical trials.

Our world will only be safer after everyone benefits from science and accessing vaccines – and that is a political challenge. The World Health Assembly must enter into a global agreement that ensures rapid universal access to vaccines and treatments that are guaranteed quality with needs prioritized over ability to pay.

It is time for the Minister of Health to renew the commitments made at the founding of the World Health Organization, where all countries agree to provide “the highest standard of health that can be achieved as a basic human right”

Now is not the time to allow the interests of the richest corporations and governments to be placed before the universal need to save lives, or to leave this immense and moral duty to market forces. Access to vaccines and care as a global public good is in the interest of all humanity. We cannot allow monopoly, fierce competition, and nationalism that almost seems to stand in our way.

We must heed the warning that “Those who don’t remember the past will be destined to repeat it.” We must learn painful lessons from the history of unequal access in dealing with diseases such as HIV and Ebola. But we must also remember the great victory of the health movement, including AIDS activists and advocates who are fighting for access to affordable medicines for all.

Apply second a series of lessons, we call for a global agreement on the COVID-19 vaccine, diagnostics and treatments – implemented under the leadership of the World Health Organization – that:

    1. Ensure mandatory sharing around the world of all knowledge, data, and technology related to COVID-19 with a collection of COVID-19 licenses that is freely available to all countries. Countries must be empowered and possible to make full use of the protection and flexibility agreed upon in the Doha WTO Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health to protect access to medicines for all.
    2. Establish a global and equitable fast production and distribution plan – fully funded by rich countries – for vaccines and all COVID-19 products and technologies that guarantee transparency ‘at real prices’ and supplies as needed. Action must begin immediately to build massive capacity throughout the world to produce billions of vaccine doses and to recruit and train the millions of paid and protected health workers needed to provide them.
    3. Guaranteed COVID-19 vaccine, diagnostics, tests, and treatments are provided free for everyone, everywhere. Access needs to be prioritized for frontline workers, the most vulnerable people, and for poor countries with the least capacity to save lives.

By doing that, nothing can be left behind. Transparent democratic governance must be established by WHO, including the expertise of independent and civil society partners, which are essential to locking accountability in this agreement.

By doing that, we also recognize the urgent need to reform and strengthen public health systems throughout the world, removing all barriers so that rich and poor people can access the health care, technology and medicines they need, free of charge at the point of need.

Only a human vaccine – with equality and solidarity at its core – can protect all humanity and make our society run safely again. Brave international agreements cannot wait.

Signed,

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – President of the Republic of Ghana

Imran Khan – Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Cyril Ramaphosa – President of the Republic of South Africa and Chair of the African Union

Macky Sall – President of the Republic of Senegal

Karen Koning Abuzayd – Commissioner of the Independent International Investigation Commission for Syria, under the Secretary General as Commissioner General of UNRWA (2005-2010)

Maria Elena Agüero – Secretary General, World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid

Esko Aho – Prime Minister of Finland (1991-1995)¹

Shamshad Akhtar – Former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Rashid Alimov – Secretary General, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (2016-2019), Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister (1992-1994) ²

Very Alsoswa – Former Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, Former Assistant UN Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director / Bureau of Arab States

Philip Alston – John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of New York and Former UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Baroness Valerie Amos – UN Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (2010-2015)

Rosalia Arteaga Serrano – President of Ecuador (1997) ²

Maria Eugenia Brizuela de Avila – Foreign Minister of Salvador (1999-2004)

Shaukat Aziz – Prime Minister of Pakistan (2004-2007), former Vice President of Citibank²

Jan Peter Balkenende – Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2002-2010)¹

Joyce Banda – President of the Republic of Malawi (2012-2014) and Champion for the AIDS-Free Generation¹

Nelson Barbosa – Professor, FGV and University of Brasilia, and former Minister of Finance of Brazil

José Manuel Barroso – Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004), President of the European Commission (2004-2014)¹

Carol Bellamy – Former Executive Director, UNICEF (1995-2005)

Valdis Birkavs – Prime Minister of Latvia (1993-1994)¹

Irina Bokova – Director General of UNESCO (2009-2017)

Gordon Brown – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2007-2010)

Winnie Byanyima – UNAIDS Executive Director and UN Deputy Secretary General

Kathy Calvin – Former Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation

Kim Campbell – Prime Minister of Canada (1993)¹

Fernando Henrique Cardoso – President of Brazil (1995-2003)¹

Gina Casar – Executive Director of AMEXCID, UNDP Partner Administrator (2014-2015)

Hikmet Cetin – Turkish Foreign Minister (1991-1994), former Speaker of Parliament2

Ha-joon chang – Director, Center for Development Studies, Cambridge University

Judy Cheng-Hopkins – Former Assistant Secretary General, Peace Development Support, United Nations

Laura Chinchilla – President of Costa Rica (2010-2014)¹

Joaquim Chissano – President of the Republic of Mozambique (1986-2005) and Champion for the AIDS-Free Generation¹

Helen Clark – Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008), UNDP Administrator (2009-2017)¹²

Emil Constantinescu – President of Romania (1996-2000) ²

Radhika Coomaraswamy – former UN Deputy Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

Cousin Ertharin – Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (2012-2017)

Paula A. Cox – Prime Minister of Bermuda (2010-2012)

Herman De Croo – Minister of State of Belgium; Honorary Speaker House

Olivier De Schutter – Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Danny Dorling – Professor of Human Geography at Oxford University

Ruth Dreifuss – Swiss President (1999) and Federal Council (1993-2002)

Diane Elson – Professor Emeritus University of Essex, Member of the UN Committee on Development Policy

Maria Fernanda Espinosa – President of the United Nations General Assembly (2018-2019), Ecuador’s Foreign Minister (2007-2009, 2017-2018) and Member of the Political Advisory Panel of the UHC2030

Moussa Faki – Chair of the African Union Commission

Christiana Figueres – UNFCCC Executive Secretary (2010-2016)

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir – President of Iceland (1980-1996)¹

Louise Fréchette – Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (1998-2006)

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr – Postgraduate Program Director Julien J. Studley in International Affairs and Professor of International Affairs at The New School

Patrick Gaspard – Former United States Ambassador to South Africa, President of the Open Society Foundation

Jayati Ghosh – Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Felipe González – President of the Spanish Government (1982-1996)¹

Rebeca Grynspan – Vice President of Costa Rica (1994-1998), Ibero-American Secretary General

Alfred Gusenbauer – Austrian Chancellor (2007-2008)¹

Han Seung-Soo – Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (2008-2009)¹

Noeleen Heyzer – Member of the High-level Advisory Council of the United Nations Secretary General for Medicine ²

Mladen Ivanic – Presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014-2018) ²

Devaki Jain – Feminist economist, Honorary Recipient at St Anne’s College, Oxford and member of the Southern Commission (1987-90)

Arjun Jayadev – Professor of Economics at Azim Premji University

Rob Johnson – President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – President of the Republic of Liberia (2006-2018)¹

Mehdi Jomaa – Prime Minister of Tunisia (2014-2015)¹

Anthony T. Jones – Vice President and Executive Director of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America (GFNA)¹

Ivo Josipovic – President of Croatia (2010-2015) ²

Naila Kabeer – Professor of Gender and International Development at the London School of Economics

Michel Kazatchkine – Special Advisor to the United Nations Joint Program for AIDS (UNAIDS) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Senior Member, Center for Global Health, Institute for Postgraduate International Studies and Development, Geneva

Rima Khalaf – President of the Global Organization Against Racial Discrimination and Segregation, and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (2010-2017)

Horst Köhler – President of Germany (2004-2010)¹

Jadranka Kosor – Prime Minister of Croatia (2009-2011) ²

Bernard Kouchner – French Minister of Health (1992-1993, 1997-1999, 2001-2002), French Foreign Minister (2007-2010); founder of Médecins sans frontiers / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Médecins du Monde / Doctors of the World (MdM)

Chandrika Kumaratunga – President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005)¹

Aleksander Kwaśniewski – President of Poland (1995-2005)) ¹²

Rachel Kyte CMG – Dean of the Fletcher Faculty of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera – President of Uruguay (1990-1995)¹

Ricardo Lagos – President of Chile (2000-2006)¹

Zlatko Lagumdzija – Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2002)¹²

Laura Liswood – Secretary General of the World Council of Women Leaders

Nora Lustig – President Emerita of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association, Latin American Economics Professor, Tulane University

Jessie Rose Mabutas – Executive Board Member, African Capacity Building Foundation, Expert Member, UN Adaptation Fund Accreditation Panel, and Executive Board Member, African Public Administration Section of the American Society for Public Administration

Graça Machel – Founder, The Graça Machel Trust and Community Development Foundation

Susana Malcorra – Argentine Foreign Minister (2015-2017)

Isabel Saint Malo – Vice President of Panama (2014-2019)

Purnima Mane – Global expert on gender, HIV and sexual and reproductive health issues, President of Pathfinder International (2012-2016)

Mariana Mazzucato – Professor at University College London and Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and General Purpose (IIPP)

Mary McAleese – President of Ireland (1997-2011)

Rexhep Meidani – President of Albania (1997-2002)¹²

Carlos Mesa – President of Bolivia (2003-2005)¹

Branko Milanovic – Visiting the President’s Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center

Aïchatou Mindaoudou – UN Special Representative for Ivory Coast and Head of UN Operations in Ivory Coast (2013-2017)

Mogae Festival – President of the Republic of Botswana (1998-2008) and Champion for the AIDS-Free Generation¹

Mario Monti – Prime Minister of Italy (2011-2013)¹

Kgalema Motlanthe – President of the Republic of South Africa (2008-2009) and Champion for the AIDS Free Generation

Rovshan Muradov – Secretary General, Nizami Ganjavi International Center

Cristina Narbona – First Vice President of the Spanish Senate and former Spanish Minister of the Environment

Bujar Nishani – President of Albania (2012-2017) ²

John Nkengasong – Director of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Olusegun Obasanjo – President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999-2007) and Champion for the AIDS-Free Generation¹

Djoomart Otorbayev – Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan (2014-2015) ²

Roza Otunbayeva – President of Kyrgyzstan (2010-2011)¹

Ana Palacio – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain (2002-2004)

David Pan – Executive Dean, Steve Scwarcman College, China Tsinghua University²

Flavia Pansieri – Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights (2013-2015)

Elsa Papademetriou – former Vice President of the Hellenic Republic (2007-2009) ²

Andres Pastrana – President of Colombia (1998-2002)¹

Muhammad Ali Pate – Global Director, Global Health, Nutrition and Population Practices of the World Bank and Director of PT Global Funding Facility for Women, Children and Youth

Kate Pickett – Professor of Epidemiology at the University of York

Thomas Piketty – Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics and co-director of the World Inequality Database

Rosen Plevneliev – President of Bulgaria (2012-2017) ²

Hifikepunye Pohamba – President of the Republic of Namibia (2005-2015) and Champion for the AIDS-Free Generation

Karin Sham Pòo – Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF (1987-2004)

Achal Prabhala – AccessIBSA project coordinator

Dainius Puras – Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to enjoy the highest physical and mental health standards that can be achieved

Iveta Radicova – Prime Minister of Slovakia (2010-2012)¹

José Manuel Ramos-Horta – President of Timor Leste (2007-2012)¹

J.V.R. Prasada Rao – Special Envoy to the United Nations Secretary General for AIDS (2012-2017) and Health Secretary of the Government of India (2002-2004)

Geeta Rao Gupta – Executive Director of the 3D Program for Girls and Women and Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation

Oscar Ribas – Prime Minister of Andorra (1982-84; 1990-94)¹²

Mary Robinson – President of Ireland (1990-1997), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chair of Elders

Dani Rodrik – President-Elect of the International Economic Association, Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard University

Petre Roman – Prime Minister of Romania (1989-1991)¹

Juan Manuel Santos – President of Colombia (2010-2018), 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Honorable Elder Member and International Member of Arnhold Conservation

Kailash Satyarthi – Nobel Peace Prize laureate (2014) and Child Rights Activist

Ismail Serageldin – Joint Chair of Nizami Ganjavi International Center, Senior Vice President of the World Bank (1992-2000) ²

Fatiha Insects – African Group for Justice & Accountability

Michel Sidibé – Minister of Health and Social Affairs Mali

Mari Simonen – Former Assistant UN Secretary General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director

Pierre Somse – Minister of Health and Population of the Central African Republic

Vera Songwe – Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Michael Spence – Nobel laureate in Economics (2001), Professor William R. Berkley in Economics & Business, NYU

Joseph E. Stiglitz – Nobel laureate in economics and University Professor at Columbia University

Eka Tkeshelashvili – Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia (2010-2012) ²

Aminata Touré – Prime Minister of Senegal (2013-2014)¹

Danilo Türk – President of Slovenia (2007-2012)¹

Cassam Uteem – President of Mauritius (1992-2002)¹

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis – Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO²

Ann Veneman – Executive Director of UNICEF (2005-2010)

Chema Vera – Executive Director (Interim) Oxfam International

Melanne Verveer – United States Ambassador to Global Women’s Issues (2009-2013), Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Peace, Women and Security at Georgetown University

Vaira Vike-Freiberga – President of Latvia (1999-2007), Joint Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center

Filip Vujanovic – President of Montenegro (2003-2018) ²

Margot Wallström – Swedish Foreign Minister (2014-2019)

Richard Wilkinson – Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology, Nottingham University School of Medicine

Kateryna Yushchenko – First Lady of Ukraine (2005-2010) ²

Viktor Yushchenko – President of Ukraine (2005-2010) ²

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – President of the Spanish Government (2004-2011)¹

Valdis Zatlers – President of Latvia (2007-2011) ²

Ernesto Zedillo – President of Mexico (1994-2000)¹

Gabriel Zucman – Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley

¹ Members of the WLA Club de Madrid
² Members of the Nizami Ganjavi (NGIC) International Center

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