Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, at the virtual Event on “Team Europe Global Response to COVID-19” —
I thank the European Delegation and to Germany for organizing this initiative. Italy has been one of the main sponsors and promoters of a multilateral and multi-dimensional response to the COVID-19 emergency and called since the early stages of the crisis for an international alliance to face this pandemic.
We have indeed called since the beginning for a coordinated and synergic response, based on cooperation, solidarity and inclusivity. We co-hosted the “Coronavirus Global Response Initiative”, co-launched the ACT- Accelerator and pioneered the Covax Facility with an early contribution of more than 100 million dollars to the GAVI Advance Market Commitment, for the access and equitable distribution of vaccines in 92 Developing Countries.
Italy has strongly supported, since its inception, the “Team Europe” approach – because it is about acting together. We have concretely contributed to the package of initiatives carried out in the framework of the “Team Europe” approach with an estimated amount of more than 1 billion dollars in interventions and programs, especially focused on the fields of health assistance, emergency relief and access to food and essential goods.
Looking ahead, since December 1, Italy holds the Presidency of the G20 and we are therefore called to play a steering role in the incoming months. Since the pandemic is far from over, we must place the international response to COVID-19 as the prominent issue throughout 2021.
Our goal is to promote global health as a global public good. Therefore, the first objective of our Presidency will be to push for an equitable, worldwide access to vaccines. The G20 is already working on this crucial issue, in particular by promoting the implementation of the ACT-Accelerator, and we will push for it to be financed and brought to completion.
In this perspective, the President of the EU Commission and the Prime Minister of Italy will also host a Global Health Summit precisely to push for the immediate response that has to be even.
At the same time, it is our duty to look beyond the immediate crisis and focus on efforts to foster an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery. We want to put people at the center. This means tackling inequalities, most of all, and we will place a particular focus on tackling gender inequality as a crosscutting challenge.
We are committed to enhance the cooperation with all international partners and the United Nations system as a whole and to engage all relevant actors of the civil society, the academia and the private sector.
The “Team Europe” approach is an example; it is a best practice that we could replicate. Looking at the “recovering better” phase, we look with particular interest to the possibility to implement a sort of “Team Europe” approach to all the initiatives carried out in the field of debt relief in support of developing countries. Italy is ready to work with all actors to fight this challenge and to recover better.