Antonio Guterres on RFI: a vaccine against Covid-19 must be “a global public good”

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres granted RFI correspondent in Bamako, Serge Daniel, an interview in which he discusses the measures to be taken to deal with the risks created by the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, which he s ‘is about the food situation in certain areas, or the threats it poses over the upcoming electoral deadlines. Antonio Guterres insists on the need to make a future Covid-19 vaccine a “global public good” and reacts to the non-respect, in several crisis zones, of the call for truce that he launched.

  • Measures to take in the face of food insecurity risks

There are things to do within the framework of the African continent itself: supporting farmers, opening corridors for the movement of foodstuffs, improving markets etc. But, afterwards, it will naturally also be necessary to take measures on a global scale. For example, avoid export restrictions from countries that export food to Africa. And increase our capacity from the perspective of the World Food Program (WFP) and other institutions to support situations that are situations of humanitarian drama. But I want to stress the importance of the engagement of African governments and communities in agricultural policies. In my opinion, this is an absolutely key question. Often in the past in the world – not only in Africa – political strategies have neglected agriculture, have bet everything on industrialization, on the modernization of other sectors. The truth is that agriculture remains an essential base of economies, in Africa and the world.

  • Debates around the potential future Covid-19 vaccine

I said from the first moment that a vaccine has to be a global public good. This means that, wherever a vaccine is discovered, of course the costs will have to be covered by the international community, but production permits must be immediately open to any company, any company. factory in the world, so that the vaccine can be available everywhere and at an absolutely reasonable price. The issue of universal access to a vaccine is a key issue from my point of view. We must avoid at all costs a mechanism where the vaccine is a commercial product, where the power of money defines access to something which must be considered as a global public good. (…) If production is exclusive to the one who invented the vaccine and is done at a defined price for commercial reasons, it becomes a deep injustice, it means that only the rich – and the rich in rich countries – will have access to vaccine. This is absolutely intolerable from a moral and political point of view.

  • The idea of ​​a truce with the jihadists in the Sahel.

I respect the choices that the Sahel countries are making to try to find a solution to the security crisis, but I fear that many of the groups acting within the framework of the region are groups with terrorist motivations which will be very difficult to initiate. in a positive way towards peace. “

  • The investment of the international community in the settlement of the crisis in the Sahel

I fought from the beginning so that the Sahel could have much stronger support from the international community than that which exists today, especially from the point of view of the G5 Sahel. I always understood that the G5 Sahel should have a mandate under chapter VII [de la charte de l’ONU] and should have guaranteed funding. I have seen with great concern insufficient support from the perspective of the G5 Sahel and development aid. I continue to advocate a much stronger commitment from the international community in supporting the countries of the Sahel.

  • Antonio Guterres disappointed by lack of truce in Cameroon with secessionists ?

Disappointed, but still with hope. President Biya has expressed a positive attitude towards the possibility of a ceasefire. A possibility of dialogue must be established with the armed movements. I have hope and I am entirely at the disposal of the President and the Cameroonian people to be able to help.

  • The continuing Libyan conflict, fueled by outside interference.

The truth is that in Libya there is a military escalation with weapons arriving, mercenaries arriving in absolute violation of international law. I add my voice to that of the African Union: this scandal must be stopped at all costs. There has to be an effective ceasefire and there has to be an intra-Libyan dialogue.

  • Debt : should we go beyond the moratorium decided by the G20 countries ?

I think this suspension is not enough. I believe that all developing countries that have problems accessing financial markets, which cannot match debt service, should have these payments suspended. At the same time, we need to prepare for targeted debt relief in situations that will not have a solution… and a more comprehensive, more structural approach, because we must at all costs avoid there being in the future a series of bankruptcies which could generate a depression on a global scale.

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