Toespraak minister Van Ark bij World Health Assembly
Toespraak van minister Van Ark op 25 mei 2021 bij de World Health Assembly. De tekst is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.
Dear Chair, Director General, distinguished colleagues,
It is my honor to speak to you on behalf of The Kingdom of the Netherlands. We align ourselves with the statement made by Portugal on behalf of the European Union.
Let me first express our appreciation for the World Health Organization and health workers worldwide.
The evaluation panels are very clear: None of us were prepared for this pandemic even though we were warned.
We now know that political leadership, transparency, community engagement and sustainable and predictable financing for WHO are essential.
This calls for a Global Health Framework supported on the highest political level; I hope that during this World Health Assembly we can start the process for such a new Framework. Building on principles set at the Global Health Summit last week.
We need to prevent future zoonotic outbreaks and to combat anti-microbial resistance. Therefore it remains vital to bolster the implementation of the International Health Regulations. Investing in resilient local health systems from a One Health perspective is key. The Global Leadership Group on AMR – in which I participate advocates for political action.
Preventing pandemic crises should be our common aim for the years to come. And we need to help each other out of this crisis as well. Access to vaccines is therefore of utmost importance.
The Netherlands is committed to making a substantial batch of vaccines available through the EU Vaccine Sharing Mechanism and COVAX.
But there is more than vaccines. The Access to COVID Tools Accelerator is a unique partnership to which the Netherlands has contributed 147 million euros. It will however only be truly effective if global equitable access - to all tools - is ensured.
Meanwhile we cannot lose sight of pre-existing crises. We need to ensure that essential health services, routine vaccinations and activities continue; in particular for WASH, mental health and psychosocial support, HIV and Aids, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
And in doing so, we need a strong and trusted WHO. We were shocked by the recent revelations of possible inaction by the WHO, after alleged sexual abuse by WHO staff. A quick and thorough response is needed.
We thank you again for all efforts to overcome this health crisis and building a healthier, safer, and fairer world for all.