India co-sponsors global effort against Covid-19, Pakistan objects | Exclusive

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In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations has introduced a resolution which was co-sponsored by India to ensure that the right of every human being to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, without distinction of any kind, is protected.

The 193-Member General Assembly adopted the Mexico-drafted resolution ‘International cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19’ by consensus on Monday.

Syed Akbaruddin told India Today TV: “In the current fight against Covid-19, India has been at the forefront of international efforts to provide medicines and drugs to numerous countries across the globe and to facilitate the sourcing of international Organisations such as UNICEF of essential medicines. Hence we were happy to co-sponsor this global effort at the UN.”

India has been at the forefront of the fight against a pandemic that has claimed 177,000 lives and infected more than 2.5 million people.

India was among the 179 nations co-sponsoring the resolution while Pakistan was not part of the co-sponsors. Instead of supporting the resolution, Pakistan, without naming Kashmir, raised objection to the Mexican draft resolution.

“We regret that the draft resolution could not include references to ensure access to information, preventive and other health care for all persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty especially those in regions under foreign occupation,” Pakistan said in its explanation of vote sent to the President of the General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

A highly placed source said, “After desperately trying to derail SAARC Covid efforts, Pakistan has now stayed away from global mainstream of supporting global access to medicines by not joining co-sponsors of Resolution.”

The world body recognised that the “poor” and the most “vulnerable” people are the most affected and that the impact of the pandemic will have repercussions on development. But an official added that even as access to medicines has emerged as a major area of focus globally for developing countries. An official privy to the developments said that Pakistan decided not to join the global mainstream citing “frivolous” reasons which were not echoed by anyone else.

This is the second resolution adopted the UN General Assembly on the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by 188 nations including India, calling for intensified international cooperation to defeat the pandemic that is causing “severe disruption to societies and economies”.

HERE’S FIVE-POINT AGENDA OF RESOLUTION

1. Highlighting the importance of the role played by the World Health Organization, it reaffirms the fundamental role of the United Nations system in coordinating the global response to control and contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

2. Requests the Secretary-General, to identify and recommend options, including approaches to rapidly scaling manufacturing and strengthening supply chains that promote and ensure fair, transparent, equitable, efficient and timely access to and distribution of preventive tools, laboratory testing, reagents and supporting materials, essential medical supplies, new diagnostics, drugs and future COVID-19 vaccines, with a view to making them available to all those in need, in particular in developing countries.

3.Encourages Member States to work in partnership with all relevant stakeholders.

4. States and other relevant stakeholders to immediately take steps to prevent, within their respective legal frameworks, speculation and undue stockpiling.

5. Requests the Secretary-General, to consider establishing, within existing resources, an inter-agency task force, and to brief the General Assembly on such efforts, as appropriate.

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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