“COVID-19 has changed the lives of people around the world and has highlighted inequality around the world,” said Trudeau in a speech recorded outside his Rideau Cottage home in Ottawa.
“None of us have been spared the effects of COVID-19 and none of us can beat it alone. ”
Canada will contribute $ 180 million to address the immediate humanitarian and developmental effects of the pandemic, he said.
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And Canada will contribute $ 120 million to a new initiative called the COVID-19 Tool Access Accelerator (ACT), which was created in April by the World Health Organization, the French government, the European Commission and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure equitable access to medical treatment.
ACC Accelerator supports organizations, health professionals and businesses in their efforts to develop a vaccine, as well as drug therapies and diagnostic tools to fight the pandemic.
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Trudeau said the pandemic has hit particularly vulnerable populations particularly hard and that the ACT accelerator will ensure that when a vaccine is found, it will be able to reach everyone who needs it.
“We are also committed to working with countries around the world on how we can pool supply efforts to ensure that all countries have access to the vaccine,” said Trudeau.
Canadian aid and advocacy groups say the contribution is only a fraction of what will eventually be needed to fight the pandemic. It will also be difficult to ensure that a vaccine developed reaches poor countries that cannot afford it.
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Julia Anderson, Director of Operations for the Canadian Partnership for Women’s and Children’s Health, said that the ACT accelerator is the “robust mechanism” that the world needs to coordinate the fight against the pandemic while supporting health systems existing in vulnerable countries.
“Hopefully this is the one stop shop,” said Anderson, adding that ACT is a work in progress. “The plane is under construction while it is in flight. ”
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Anderson said that everything Trudeau announced on Saturday should only be viewed as a “deposit” on future spending. His group and two anti-poverty organizations – One Campaign and Results Canada – say Canada should devote one percent of its COVID-19 global spending programs to international aid.
They say it would require an increase of at least $ 1.5 billion in Canada’s foreign aid budget, which stands at around $ 5 billion.
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Chris Dendys, executive director of Results Canada, said she expected Trudeau to announce a “significant investment”, but more will be needed.
“We have called on Canada to spend at least one percent of what we spend on COVID within our borders, on the global response,” she said.
Nicolas Moyer, executive director of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, said his organization will submit an official brief over the summer to the government to increase aid spending in the next federal budget. CCIC, a coordinating group for aid organizations, has not yet formulated the amount of the increase, but Moyer agreed that the one percent target suggested by the two advocacy groups was appropriate.
“Canada’s response to the pandemic has been important at home and must be aligned with global ambition,” said Moyer.
Aid agencies and anti-poverty groups attribute the Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, one of the strongest advocates for their sector to the federal cabinet table.
“We are pleased to see Minister Gould insisting on more investment because it is desperately needed more,” said Stuart Hickox, Canadian director of One Campaign.
“There is an immediate need for two parts of investment to address the humanitarian crisis and ensure that tests, treatments and possibly a vaccine are available everywhere.”
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In previous interviews, Gould repeatedly emphasized that the safety of Canadians is linked to the successful phase-out of COVID-19.
“The needs around the world are enormous and our investments are essential to protect the health and safety of Canadians and the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.” Our global response is part of our national response: We will not be safe from COVID-19 in Canada until everyone is, “Gould said in an email to The Canadian Press on Friday.
Gould also stressed that there could be no reduction in existing spending, otherwise there could be new outbreaks of preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, polio and malaria.
“What keeps me awake at night is not just the immediate needs of the pandemic, but the collateral damage if we divert our attention from our core business,” Gould said Friday.
Global Citizen claims to be the largest anti-poverty advocacy group in the world, and is hosting Saturday’s donor conference and an evening concert strewn with stars that will be broadcast live worldwide, including here on Globalnews.ca.
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