Bellow is the official message of Ban Ki-Moon, the Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations and a member of Club de Madrid
From the earliest days of the pandemic, it was clear that Covid-19 would be a historic test of global solidarity. The development of Covid-19 vaccines was an incredible achievement. But wealthy nations responded with a shallow view of self-interest, hoarding the world’s then-limited supply for themselves.
Yet we have also seen the right kind of global South-led leadership that our world needs. India and South Africa have spearheaded a courageous effort to tear down barriers; to waive intellectual property rules on Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.
Last week, the European Union recognised that intellectual property rules are a barrier to accessing vaccines and treatments, proposing a compromise to end the WTO impasse.
In the view of experts across the globe, and my own view, India and South Africa should not agree to this without major changes to the text. They must reject this deal and insist on a better one.
It is too narrow in scope. Crucially the compromise addresses only patents, not other intellectual property barriers like trade secrets which are essential for the manufacture of vaccines.
Worse still, it adds even greater restrictions. And it would even add further retrictions to the use of existing flexibilities in the WTO TRIPS agreement to produce vital generic medicines. In fact, it is barely a waiver at all, and will do little to improve access to vaccines and treatments.
The EU and US must return to negotiations with a new resolve, to secure the right of the global south to produce Covid-related technologies.
Only then will we restore faith in multilateralism and make meaningful progress towards ending the pandemic.