World leaders pledge to redouble pandemic fight at special APEC meeting

Reuters
Wellington Published: Jul 17, 2021, 09:22 AM(IST)

US President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC pledged to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines. This grouping includes US President Joe Biden, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and China's Xi Jinping. Struggling to tame outbreaks exacerbated by the Delta variant of coronavirus, the leaders said they would encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies 'on mutually agreed terms' 

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, including US President Joe Biden, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and China's Xi Jinping, pledged on Friday to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic.

The leaders, struggling to tame outbreaks exacerbated by the Delta variant of coronavirus, said they would encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies 'on mutually agreed terms' as the region prepared for future health shocks.

"The pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on our region’s people and economies," the leaders said in a joint statement issued after a virtual meeting chaired by New Zealand.

"We will only overcome this health emergency by accelerating equitable access to safe, effective, quality-assured, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines," they said.

The APEC leaders met virtually to discuss collective actions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.

New Zealand, the revolving Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation host, said this week it would chair the extraordinary meeting ahead of a formal gathering in November, the first time such an additional meeting has been held.

"Our discussions moved us beyond vaccine nationalism. Now we are focusing on all aspects of contributing to the global vaccination effort — making vaccines, sharing vaccines and using vaccines," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the meeting. She said the leaders agreed this will not be the world`s last pandemic and that preparedness was critical.

The meeting highlights growing concerns around COVID-19, which is raging in the region as countries including Indonesia, Thailand and Australia face new waves of infections.

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