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The Peace and Security Council,

 

Notingthe opening remarks made by H.E. Sabri BOUKADOUM, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and Chairperson of the PSC for May 2021, as well as the statement of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, delivered on his behalf by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye; the statement of the AU Champion for COVID-19 Response, H.E. President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, of the Republic of South Aafrica read on his behalf by H.E. Naledi Pando, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa; the statement of the AU Chairperson, H.E. President Felix Etienne Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo read on his behalf by H.E. Ambassador Jean-Leon Ngandu-Ilunga; the statement of the Director of  the World Health Organization (WHO),Dr. Teodros Gebreysus; the statement of the AU Envoy on the African Medicines Agency (AMA) H.E Mr. Mishel Sidibe; and the presentation made by the Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC), Dr, John Nkenkasong;

 

Recalling all previous decisions and pronouncements of the AU on the COVID-19 particular, Decision [Assembly/AU/Dec.797(XXXIV)] adopted by the 34thOrdinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government held from 6 to7 February 2021, in which the Assembly emphasized the need for universal, equitable and timely access to affordable medical products amongst others, diagnostic kits, vaccines, personal protective equipment and ventilators for a rapid and effective response to  the COVID-19 pandemic ;also recalling its previous decisions on the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(CMXXII)] adopted at its 922nd meeting held on 6 May 2020;and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (CMXXI)] adopted at its 921st meeting held on 28 April 2020;

 

Deeply concerned about the existential social, economic, political and security threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the African Continent, where it has claimed many lives, crippled national economies, amplified existing inequalities and severely disrupted the implementation ofthe AU Agenda 2063 and its main flagship projects, in particular, “Silencing the Guns in Africa by the Year 2030” and the “African Continental Free Trade Agreement”

 

Also deeply concerned about the inequitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutic medicines and personal protective equipment, largely aggravated by the current practice of hoarding and monopolizing the COVID-19 vaccines; and note that, consequently, Africa is facing delays compared to other global regions in accessing life-saving vaccines for COVID-19;

 

Mindful of the importance of ensuring universal coverage of the COVID-19 vaccines the fact that no one single country is safe from the pandemic until all countries are safe; 

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:


1. Notes with satisfaction the remarkable achievements of the AU in response to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, including, the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19; the establishment of the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund; the formation of an African Medicines Supplies Platform; the appointment of African Union Special Envoys for COVID-19 Response; and the creation of the African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team;

2. Commends all Member States for their relentless efforts in fighting the pandemic;also commends the efforts by the AU Commission, in particular, the Africa-CDC, for providing technical assistance to Member States, including in capacity building training and implementation of various AU decisions on COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, as well as in ensuring that COVID-19 pandemic equipment and vaccines are distributed to all Member States; pays tribute to the healthcare workers and other frontline workers, including humanitarian personnel for sacrificing their lives in order to save other African lives, sometimes in particularly challenging situations, including in violent conflict settings and encourages them to persevere until the pandemic has been completely eradicated from the Continent;

3. Further commends the efforts being deployed by the AU Chairperson, H.E President Felix Etienne Tshisekedi, including the recent hosting, on 13 May 2021,of a virtual conference on ‘Africa’s Vaccine Manufacturing for Health Security’ which launched the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM), in order to promote African and global partnerships to scale-up vaccine manufacturing in Africa; as well as the efforts of H.E President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the AU Champion for the COVID-19 response; also commends the efforts of World Health Organization, including the exemplary leadership of its Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and re-affirms the continued commitment of the AU to support him and the entire WHO not only in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in fighting all future similar public health threats of international concern;

4. Underscores the need to raise global awareness of the threat posed to human security in Africa, as a result of the current unethical practices of hoarding and monopolizing the COVID-19 vaccines; condemns all acts and attempts aimed at undermining Africa’s efforts to access COVID-19 vaccines and calls on the international community to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equitably distributed taking into consideration that ‘nobody is safe until everyone is safe’;

5. Welcomes the UN Security Council statement adopted on 19 May 2021, which, among others, called for more COVID-19 vaccines for Africa amid concerns that the continent had received only 2% of all shots administered in the world;also calledfor increased and accelerated donation of safe and effective vaccine doses from developed countries and from other countries with surpluses to African countries in need;

6. Emphasizes the importance of treating COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good for health, given that it represents an effective tool for preventing, containing, and stopping transmission of COVID-19; and that inequality and disparity in access to vaccines seriously undermines current global efforts to eradicate the pandemic, by leaving behind a large part of populations around the world, particularly in Africa;

7. Underscores the critical importance of all countries to fully comply with the WHO vaccines Allocation Framework, which advises that in the current first phase, where vaccines are not available in sufficient quantities, all countries should receive doses in proportion to their population sizes, in order to immunize the highest priority groups;

8. Emphasizes the need to further strengthen Africa’s early warning and early response capacity with a view to building Africa’s capacity to respond more swiftly to future epidemics and pandemics, as well as other humanitarian challenges;

9. Stresses the need to scale-up COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in Africa in order to achieve universal and equitable access, including through sharing of the intellectual property, technology transfers and open non-exclusive licensing; in this regard emphasizes the importance to build and strengthen African manufacturing capabilities of all types of vaccines; and requests the AU Commission, through its Africa CDC, to make proposals to Member States on continental vision/strategy on the manufacturing of vaccines by African institutions;

10. Also requests all actors to explore possible options for increasing production, including voluntary licenses, technology pools, the use of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities and the waiver of certain intellectual property provisions ; and in this regard strongly supports the call for waiver of intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccine tabled by South Africa and India before the World Trade Organizations and appeals to the international community for its support, in line with paragraph 12 of AU Assembly Decision 797;

11. Encourages all Member States to engage with AVATT to secure COVID-19 vaccines for their citizens; appeals to those countries with excess COVID-19 vaccine stock to donate to African countries in need and to other developing countries, through COVAX facility and African Vaccination Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and also appeals to global partners, bilateral and multilateral donors, international financial institutions (IFIs) and the private sector to support the COVAX facility;

12. Underscores the need for a Continental vision, as well as a comprehensive strategy and roadmap for further strengthening the African vaccine manufacturing capacity and, in this context, appeals to all bilateral and multilateral partners, international financial institutions, the African private sector, national and regional, as well as global pharmaceutical companies to support African efforts to manufacture vaccines;

13. Encourages all Member States, which have not yet done so, to urgently sign and ratify the Treaty Establishing the African Medicine Agency (AMA), in order to facilitate its urgent entry into force, with a view to contribute towards stimulating local production and allow Africa to have an effective regulatory mechanism for the production of vaccines and other medical products in the Continent;

14. Calls for the administering of COVID-19 vaccines for all peacekeepers, as well as civilians, in all AU peace support operations;

15. Urges the Member States to unequivocally support the draft decision on waiver from Certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 that will be tabled at the TRIPS Council on 31 May, 8 and 9 June 2021;

16. Requests the African Task Force for Coronavirus (AFTCOR), a technical team that coordinates action across the Continent, to continue to meet regularly to review the COVID-19 pandemic situation and provide technical guidance with a view to boost Africa’s capacity to effectively fight the pandemic; and

17. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by PSC Secretariat

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