SAMIA SULUHU HASSAN, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, observed that there is less than a decade to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the world is not on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda mainly due to the adverse impact of COVID-19. It is expected that around 71 million people who got out of extreme poverty will be pushed back into it because of the pandemic, she said, stressing that the developing world is most affected.
She said that her country adopted all necessary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including joining the COVAX Facility. However, the virus is moving faster than the global production and distribution of vaccines, as most vaccines have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries. The level of vaccine inequity is appalling, she said. “It is truly disheartening to see that, whilst most of our countries have inoculated less than 2 per cent of our populace and thus, seek for more vaccines for our people, other countries are about to roll out the third dose, calling it booster vaccine.” Countries with surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses must share them with other countries and patent rights should be waived for developing countries so that they can afford to produce their own.
On gender equality, the pandemic is threatening to roll back gains, she cautioned. As such, her Government is reviewing policy and legal frameworks to come up with actionable, measurable plans to ensure the economic empowerment of women and other aspects pertaining to gender equality and gender parity. It is also working on designing an implementation of gender-responsive macroeconomic plans, budget reforms and stimulus packages with the objective of reducing the number of women and girls living in poverty.
Turning to climate change, her country spends 2 to 3 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to mitigate effects and build the resilience of communities, she said. That is a lot in a country which is still grappling with poverty and the emergency of COVID-19. The pandemic has compromised its capacity to respond to the harmful impact of climate change, she emphasized, calling for a transparent modality for financial disbursement and stressing that developed countries should fulfil their commitment to contribute $100 billion annually.
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