UK mobilizes funds for UN's COVID-19 vaccine scheme for developing nations
Andrew Wilson
Countries including Japan, Canada and Germany have also committed funds to the scheme. /Joel Saget/AFP

Countries including Japan, Canada and Germany have also committed funds to the scheme. /Joel Saget/AFP


The UK says it has helped raise $1 billion for the COVAX AMC (Advance Market Commitment) fund, which aims to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It is being administered by the United Nations (UN) to help distribute 1 billion doses of the vaccines to 92 of the world's developing economies this year.

Countries including Japan, Canada and Germany have also committed funds to the scheme in a public recognition that the pandemic is a global crisis and the solution for it requires a collaborative and coordinated response.

The UK has mobilized global donors to support vulnerable countries to access the vaccines, adding to its $743 million aid pledged to the initiative.

The announcement comes as the UN celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first ever UN General Assembly meeting in London in 1946. In honour of this event, Broad Sanctuary Green in Westminster will now officially be known as United Nations Green.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host a commemorative virtual meeting with more business-like follow-ups early next week.

The commemorations mark the UK's historic role in the founding of the UN, an organization that has negotiated 172 peace settlements and facilitated more than 300 international treaties, ranging from human rights conventions to agreements on the use of outer space, the arms trade and the oceans.

However, it continues to face its toughest challenge yet, with the prospects of catastrophic challenges to human existence in the face of a dangerously destabilized climate.



On Monday, January 11, Guterres is holding talks with Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister and Dominic Raab, the UK foreign minister. He is also meeting Alok Sharma, the country's full-time president of the COP 26 UN climate talks to be hosted in Glasgow in November.

Guterres will attend a COP 26 meeting with Sharma and ministers from other international governments.

He has already made it clear, through a series of speeches, that he regards dealing with climate change as the main challenge that is currently facing the world. The upcoming COP meetings in China in the spring, followed by the one in Glasgow in November, remain a priority for him.

These sentiments have already been echoed by the incoming U.S. administration, which has named Senator John Kerry as president-elect Joe Biden's special presidential envoy for climate. 

Kerry has stated the U.S. expects serious engagement and commitment to the climate initiative from the UK government.

To that end, Sharma has been relieved of his business secretary role, so he can focus on the crucial climate talks and get some momentum going.

The comments from the Biden camp also offer some clues about how the UK-U.S. relations might prosper under the new administration, with Downing Street currently being associated with a closeness to the outgoing President Donald Trump.

It is not insignificant that while at least one member of the UK's opposition Labour Party will attend the inauguration in Washington DC next week, there will be no UK government presence at the ceremony.

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