Speech by President von der Leyen at the Global Citizen Campaign launch event ‘A Recovery Plan for the World’

Thank you very much, Dr Tedros.

Dear friends of Global Citizen,

Indeed, last year, WHO, the European Union and Global Citizen teamed up to fight coronavirus. And many, many others joined us. It was an amazing and inspiring experience. And indeed, together, we achieved a lot. We created the ACT-Accelerator, and COVAX – the global facility to deliver affordable and equitable vaccines to the world. This was a big success. But let us be frank, much more is needed. First, more funding is needed. That is why as Team Europe we increased our contribution to COVAX last week bringing it to around EUR 2.2 billion.

And second, vaccine doses are needed now. Vaccines are still scarce – everywhere. But it is in our common interest to share. And I therefore fully support President Macron’s proposal to donate vaccine doses that are necessary to vaccinate healthcare workers in Africa. Vaccines must reach all corners of the planet, as soon as possible. In fact, Europe is the continent that exports the most vaccines to the rest of the world. We try hard to walk the talk. But everybody needs to chip in. And it is not only about vaccination. The crisis is bigger than that.

This is why I am proud to support the new Global Citizen campaign ‘A Recovery Plan for the World’. Let us overcome the pandemic with a global vaccination campaign. Let us stop the hunger crisis. Bring children back to their classrooms. Fight rising inequalities. And engage in a green recovery, treating our planet with care and respect.

Yes, we have to fight the pandemic right now, but we also have to address its broader impact on the most vulnerable and we need to tackle the root causes. The first important ‘rendez-vous’ of the year will be the Global Health Summit in May, which I will convene with Prime Minister Draghi in Rome. It will be a moment to reflect on the lessons learned, but also to agree on a common preparedness blueprint, so that the world is never again caught off-guard. All must weigh in: governments and international organisations, scientists, businesses and civil society, philanthropic foundations and private citizens. Everyone needs to contribute.

Global Citizen has already demonstrated that engaged and committed citizens can move mountains. Hugh, you have a unique gift to convene people. Let us do it again. As one world. Reunited.