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Volkan Bozkir (General Assembly President) on the Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines
26 Mar 2021 -  Opening remarks by Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the informal meeting of the plenary on the Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines.

"Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor to preside over this informal meeting today, convened at the request of a group of member countries and dedicated to the issue of vaccine equity.
It is my strong belief that the General Assembly works best when our discussions are Member State led and driven by the needs of people globally. Nowhere is this more evident than in the response to COVID-19, the greatest challenge experienced by the world in the 75-year history of the United Nations. This is the global issue of our times.
Colleagues,
At the special session on COVID-19, which I convened in December of last year, we had the opportunity to hear firsthand from experts on all issues related to COVID vaccines. Scientists, the private sector, the UN system, and Member States came together and discussed everything from development, to supply and storage, to access and distribution. At that stage, it was a forward-looking conversation – we were on the cusp of vaccine approvals – and we could already foresee the potential triumphs and challenges that lay in our path.
A lot has happened since then.
Yet, much more remains to be done.
Over the past year, we have seen countries and companies from across the world come together to invest in, develop, and bring to market multiple proven vaccines. We have shared personal protective equipment, critical life-saving knowledge, and resources, to help overcome broad and unprecedented socio-economic impacts.
On a much smaller, human level, we have witnessed a global coming together, as people have stood in solidarity and cheered for healthcare workers, sang from balconies, performed to empty streets, and commiserated, with humor, over the troubles of working from home.
Dear colleagues,
We went into this pandemic together; I believe we can emerge together.
But that depends on fair and equitable access to vaccines. From the health worker in a small island developing state, to a teacher in a refugee camp, to the elderly in care facilities across our countries, we must all be covered.
The most vulnerable groups – people on the move, in conflict zones, and those already marginalized – must be prioritized. In 2015, we pledged to leave no one behind, and we cannot renege upon that commitment now.
We owe it to all of those we lost, and all of those who have fought together, to stand as one, now more than ever.
I look forward to hearing your ideas and your commitments. The future of the pandemic is in our hands and the decisions we make now, will be felt for many years to come.
And before ending my statement I refer to the campaign I started, #Vaccines4All.
I thank you very much."