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UNGA 76 — FOOD SECURITY TAKES PROMINENCE AT TODAY’S SESSION — BUHARI, WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION RESTATE COMMITMENT

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STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in New York reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to attaining national food security.

The President told the Food Systems Summit as part of the High Level meetings of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, that Nigeria had developed a “food system focused development agenda that prioritizes healthy diets and affordable nutrition, inclusive, efficient, resilient, and sustainable, which will contribute to rebuilding our economy, creating jobs and spurring growth across sectors while sustaining our ecosystems.”

The Nigerian leader said the plan was the outcome of a wide range stakeholder-engagement geared towards a better understanding of their food systems, experiences and needs.

According to President Buhari, “following the recommendations from the dialogues and our plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade, Nigeria is committed to: investing in food security and nutrition knowledge dissemination, skills’ development, and information management systems to enhance agricultural productivity; building sustainable, responsive, and inclusive food systems; enhancing the productivity of smallholder farmers and empowering women and youths for greater access to food production; while strengthening climate mitigation strategies and conflict early warning systems that will reduce the many stresses and shocks to our food systems.”

The President commended the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for convening the Summit, calling it “a bold step towards achieving the 2030 global development Agenda at a time COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences are threatening progress.”

He stressed that as Nigeria works “to transform our food systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, we hope to learn from, and collaborate with Member States that have grappled or are grappling with food systems concerns similar to ours.”

“We especially support the emerging coalitions of actions and sustainable food systems,” he added.
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
September 23, 2021

New coalitions announced at the UN Food Systems Summit to increase access to healthy diets from sustainable food systems — WHO
The World Health Organisation has revealed that every year, unhealthy diets cause 11 million deaths and a further 420 000 people die from consuming unsafe foods. Currently, 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet and unhealthy diets are related to 6 of the top 10 risk factors for the global burden of disease. Our food systems are making us sick. The covid-19 pandemic had a strong negative impact on food security and nutrition. For example, 370 million children lost access to school meals and it is estimated that additional 118 million people might have become food insecure.

Health and nutrition need to be a core, cross-cutting and rights-based underpinning of food systems transformation. Fair, equitable and sustainable transformation must start now. From investigating how our food is grown, raised, packaged, delivered, and disposed of, to addressing the causal links to environmental contamination, reduced air and water quality, climate change, animal health and zoonosis, and increased global rates of antimicrobial resistance. Food systems in all regions of the world need to be reimagined to deliver nutritious, safe, diverse, and affordable foods, to combat hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, and food-borne illnesses, and to prevent non-communicable diseases.

On the 23 September 2021, during the UN General Assembly, the pivotal UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) takes place. In 2019 the UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) was announced by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, as a part of the Decade of Action for delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Summit comes at the mid-point of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and in the year of the Nutrition for Growth Summit. The aim of the Summit is to deliver progress on all 17 of the SDGs through a food systems approach, leveraging the interconnectedness of food systems to global challenges such as malnutrition, climate change, poverty, and inequality.

WHO, in its role as one of the five UN Anchor Agencies of the FSS, is announcing support to two collaborative multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder coalitions: 1) on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems, and 2) the School Meals Coalition.

The two coalitions are founded by and comprised of member states and other partners, including UN agencies. They aim to align actions by stakeholders across food systems to achieve collective impact on healthy diets from sustainable food systems – serving the needs and ambitions of global populations, especially those most marginalized.

‘Healthy diets and sustainably produced, safe food for all is not an out of reach aspiration, but an unavoidable component of global development, a human right and an achievable goal which can be realized through clear, well established and aligned actions,’ said Dr Francesco Branca, WHO Director of Nutrition and Food Safety. ‘Now is a crucial time to cement health as a foundational pillar of food systems.’

The shared vision of the coalitions is a world where all people are eating healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The aim is to ensure healthy diets are available, affordable, and accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable to malnutrition, and those living in vulnerable circumstances.

The School Meals Coalition takes a targeted approach to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a healthy, nutritious meal in school by 2030 by improving the quality of nationally owned school meal programmes and strengthening school meal systems globally.

Recognizing urgent, coherent action is needed in policies, practices, availability of data and resource allocation, the Healthy Diets Coalition will take a broader approach across three main areas:

• Supplying food: Reorienting the food supply to focus on nutritional value while ensuring livelihoods of those working in the food supply chain and protecting the environment.
• Food environments: Enhancing food environments to increase accessibility, affordability and desirability of healthy foods through actions such as capacity strengthening for retailers of nutritious foods, choice architecture, healthier food marketing, and food sensitive urban planning.
• Valuing food: Motivating individuals, families, and communities to eat healthy diets through multi-dimensional education, information, demand generation, and behavior change support.
• Support of these coalitions builds on the World Health Organization’s year-long contributions to the UN Food Systems Summit, which have also included: support to Action Track Two – Shifting to Healthy and Sustainable Consumption Patterns; the development of a novel narrative on the multiple intersecting pathways of health and food systems; promotion of six priority food systems actions that deliver better health; supporting and hosting country-level, regional and global UN Food System Summit dialogues; and organizing a FSS health talks week and official FSS Independent side event which brought partners together to discuss and align around the package of six promoted food systems actions.
GLOBAL LEADERS COMMIT FURTHER SUPPORT FOR GLOBAL EQUITABLE ACCESS TO COVID-19 VACCINES AND COVAX
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
•Leaders pledge financing, dose donations, support for country readiness and delivery and scale up of global manufacturing, to enable equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
•To improve access for lower-income economies, the United States will contribute an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to be delivered through COVAX, beginning in 2022, and Sweden will provide an additional SEK 2.1 billion (approximately US$243 million) through 2021 and 2022
•New dose commitments from the European Union, including Italy and Spain, as well as Sweden, Denmark, and Japan mean further doses will be available to COVAX participants in 2021 and 2022

Geneva/New York/Oslo 23 September 2021 – Global leaders attending the Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by the United States have again underlined their commitment to ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries through COVAX – noting that equitable access is essential to end the acute stage of the pandemic. Building on the momentum and global solidarity generated over the past eighteen months by various commitments including at summits organised by the European Commission, the G20 under the Saudi and Italian presidencies, the United Kingdom (UK), including the G7 under the UK presidency, the United States, and the Prime Minister of Japan, yesterday’s Summit saw further pledges made to COVAX and equitable access.

As the host of the Summit, the United States presented a target to vaccinate the world and as part of its commitment, pledged an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to be delivered to low- and lower-middle-income countries through COVAX. These doses are in addition the deal for 500 million Pfizer doses facilitated by the United States, announced in June, and more than 90 million surplus doses shared through COVAX, bringing the US total doses to be provided through COVAX to nearly 1.1 billion doses. With deliveries of previously pledged doses underway, these additional doses will be made available beginning in January 2022. In addition, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will provide more than $383 million in political risk insurance
to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) to facilitate shipments around the world.

The United States and the European Union announced a joint agenda for combatting the global pandemic, reemphasising commitments to share doses with COVAX and support critical readiness activities, and calling on other nations to do the same – particularly emphasising the importance of predictable and effective dose-sharing to maximize sustainability of the process and minimize wastage of doses. Building on previous pledges, Team Europe committed to share 500 million doses by mid-2022.

Emphasising the close partnership between the African Union / AVAT and COVAX in delivering doses to African countries, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called on higher-income countries to trade places in production queues and to support the AU and COVAX in their shared goal of increasing coverage across the African continent.

In addition to the US$ 285 million Sweden has already pledged to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the financing mechanism which enables access to fully donor-funded doses for 92 lower-income economies, Sweden announced that a new pledge of SEK 2.1 billion (approximately US$ 243 million) in cash contributions and dose donations, will be made available to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to AMC-eligible economies through 2021 and 2022.

Alongside these commitments, several countries pledged additional dose donations to be made available to countries around the world, including through COVAX, with Spain pledging an additional 7.5 million doses, Italy pledging an additional 30 million doses to be made available by the end of the year, and Japan, which hosted the “One World Protected” Gavi COVAX AMC Summit in June 2021, pledging approximately 60 million doses. In addition, Denmark announced during the United Nations General Assembly this week that it would be doubling its dose donation commitment, bringing the total to 6 million doses pledged to be shared.

José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Gavi Board, said: “This Summit marks a major step forward in the global response against COVID-19 and a major step forward for multilateralism. I would like to thank President Biden and all leaders for their commitment to global access to vaccines and urge all partners and stakeholders to increase their support of COVAX, so that we can meet our objective of ending the acute phase of this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) “Science has made huge progress in the fight to save lives, restore the global economy, and end the pandemic. Now we must redress the central moral failing of the world’s response to the pandemic, which is the lack of equitable access to the life-saving tools we have developed. This will require continued investment in R&D so we are able to deploy more vaccines, more effectively and create equity between countries of all income levels with regard to access to these life-saving vaccines.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: “I am grateful to President Biden and world leaders for the commitment they have shown to vaccinate the world. However, what we need to succeed is truly sustainable, ironclad support that gets delivered now – not in 6 months or 12 months time. If we are to meet the targets we have set of vaccinating 10% of the population of all countries by the end of this month, 40% by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid next-year, we need to drastically scale up access to vaccines now.”

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said: “We welcome world leaders’ renewed commitment to provide vaccine doses to low-income countries. We laud the US pledge of 500 million additional doses next year, as well as the announcements made by the European Union, Denmark, Japan, Italy and Spain, and hope to see these promises fulfilled urgently. With only 12 per cent of the pledges made earlier this year turning into actual doses, low-income countries can no longer wait. We urge dose-sharing countries to accelerate their donation plans.”

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, said: “With the rise of variants and the current gap in equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines we must urgently vaccinate those most at risk everywhere in the world. We cannot afford further delays in getting vaccines to the most vulnerable – to do so will mean a continuation of this pandemic and its impact on all of our lives.”

COVAX has recently published an updated supply forecast
, which indicates that while COVAX deliveries to countries are accelerating and will continue to ramp up dramatically through the end of year, significant risks remain.

As a result COVAX partners have issued an urgent call to action
– for the lifting of all export restrictions, for manufacturers to deliver on their commitments to COVAX and provide transparency on delivery schedules and queues. COVAX also calls for countries who are ahead in manufacturers’ queues and have already achieved high coverage to give up their place in the queue to COVAX and the low and middle-income participants it supports, and for the expansion, acceleration and systemization of dose donations to provide greater volumes, lead times, and shelf lives, allowing countries to better prepare for rollouts.

So far COVAX has delivered more than 300 million doses to 142 economies, and according to the latest forecast, a total of approximately 1.2 billion doses will be available for the lower income economies supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) by the end of 2021. This is enough to protect 20% of the population, or 40% of all adults, in all 92 AMC economies with the exception of India. The key COVAX milestone of two billion doses released for delivery is now expected to be reached in the first quarter of 2022.

Notes to editors
About COVAX
COVAX the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.

CEPI’s role in COVAX
CEPI is leading on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio
, investing in R&D across a variety of promising candidates, with the goal to support development of three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. As part of this work, CEPI has secured first right of refusal to potentially over one billion doses for the COVAX Facility to a number of candidates, and made strategic investments in vaccine manufacturing, which includes reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVAX vaccines at a network of facilities, and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of vaccine. CEPI is also investing in the ‘next generation’ of vaccine candidates, which will give the world additional options to control COVID-19 in the future.

Gavi’s role in COVAX
Gavi leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: designing and managing the COVAX Facility
and the Gavi COVAX AMC
and working with its traditional Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. As part of this role, Gavi hosts the Office of the COVAX Facility to coordinate the operation and governance of the mechanism as a whole, holds financial and legal relationships with 193 Facility participants, and manages the COVAX Facility deals portfolio: negotiating advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates to secure doses on behalf of all COVAX Facility participants. Gavi also coordinates design, operationalisation and fundraising for the Gavi COVAX AMC, the mechanism that provides access to donor-funded doses of vaccine to 92 lower-income economies. As part of this work, Gavi provides funding and oversight for UNICEF procurement and delivery of vaccines to all AMC participants – operationalising the advance purchase agreements between Gavi and manufacturers – as well as support for partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes tailored support to governments, UNICEF, WHO and other partners for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. Gavi also co-designed, raises funds for and supports the operationalisation of the AMC’s no fault compensation mechanism
as well as the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer
WHO’s role in COVAX
WHO has multiple roles within COVAX
: It provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. Its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE
) on Immunization develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations. Its Emergency Use Listing (EUL) / prequalification programmes ensure harmonized review and authorization across member states. It provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. It developed the target product profiles for COVID-19 vaccines and provides R&D technical coordination. WHO leads, together with UNICEF, the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream
, which provides support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. Along with Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level, the CRD workstream provides tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines
. Along with COVAX partners, WHO has developed
a no-fault compensation scheme
as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments

UNICEF’s role in COVAX

UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund
, UNICEF is leading efforts
to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.

About ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.

The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organisation, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organisations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organisations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.

The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation.

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