Speech by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the UNGA High-Level Event on COVID-19 on 30 September 2020.
Excellencies and Colleagues,
Singapore is honoured to participate in this important event. I thank the United Nations Secretary-General, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the World Health Organisation for bringing us together today.
The 75th Anniversary of the UN marks an extraordinary year. COVID-19 has turned into a global pandemic, raging across many parts of the world. More than a million people have died. Many lives and livelihoods are at stake.
Every country is doing its best to contain the spread of the virus, and to cushion the impact of the pandemic on businesses, workers and households. But no place can truly be safe, until every place is safe. Countries must therefore work together to fight this pandemic. This is our only way to overcome the crisis.
In particular, we have to strengthen international cooperation to accelerate the development of vaccines, maximise production capacity, and ensure affordable, fair and equitable access to vaccines for all. Singapore supports vaccine multilateralism and is a strong supporter of the role of the UN, the WHO and international organisations in the fight against COVID-19.
I am also glad that new and innovative forms of multilateral cooperation have been created in response to the pandemic, such as the Access to COVID-19 Tools or ACT Accelerator and the COVID-19 Global Vaccines Access or COVAX Facility.
Singapore is an early supporter of these initiatives, and co-chairs the Friends of the COVAX Facility with Switzerland. We also look forward to representing the Forum of Small States, and working with friends and partners on the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council. We encourage more countries to join these efforts and support vaccine multilateralism to better fight COVID-19.
The world is at a turning point. Our actions in the coming years will determine the future of our countries and of humanity for decades to come. Our collective effort will enable us to overcome this crisis. By working together and strengthening the foundations of international cooperation, we can better deal with future crises and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, so as to build a better future for all our people.
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