Date(s) - 24/04/2021
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Warwick District UN Association will be hosting a talk by Heidi Chow, Senior Campaigns and Policy Manager and an expert on big pharma and manufacture of vaccines, from Global Justice Now (formerly World Development Movement).
Heidi leads Global Justice Now’s pharmaceutical campaign to fight for access to medicines in the UK and across the world as well as the organisation’s trade campaign. Less than a fortnight ago Heidi led a very successful campaign by putting pressure on rich governments to support the proposal at the World Trade Organisation to suspend patents on vaccines to help unlock pharmaceutical monopolies that are restricting supplies. Also calling on pharmaceutical corporations to share their vaccine blueprints through the World Health Organisation. Heidi has appeared on various News channels including an hour long Q & A session on Radio Five Live with Nicky Campbell answering questions from the UK public on the roll out of the various vaccines and their distribution to the developing nations. She has co-authored policy reports on the failings of the pharmaceutical innovation system and how it has left communities across the world without access to effective treatments. She has previously led and won the campaign to challenge the UK government’s support for the New Alliance – an aid scheme that benefited corporations at the expense of Africa’s small farmers. She has played an active role in the global movement for food sovereignty and in the development of the People’s Food Policy. She has also campaigned on a range of economic justice issues such as food speculation, Europe’s bilateral trade deals, the World Trade Organisation and stopping RBS’s unethical investments.
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed our world in a matter of weeks. The UN has called it the biggest global challenge since World War Two, as every country attempts to deal with the twin shocks to public health and the economy.
We have seen the extraordinary collaborative efforts of scientists in discovering and testing six, safe and effective vaccines within a year of the first outbreak. But sadly, politics will be the biggest factor in determining whether and how vaccines are distributed around the world. With new concerning variants of the coronavirus being reported on almost on a monthly basis, the urgency to vaccinate as many of the world’s population is obvious and as pragmatic as it is altruistic.
But, despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) secretary-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warning that ‘no-one is safe until everyone is safe’, most leaders are short-sightedly fixated on a race simply to cover their own populations first.
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS and under-secretary-general of the UN, said that fair access to medicines “is never given, it is always won”. This failure to collectively combat the pandemic poses a threat to global health security and the battered world economy. As the UN secretary-general noted in a tweet ‘science is succeeding – but solidarity is failing’.
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Meeting ID: 889 4448 9672, Passcode: 716573