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Official speeches and statements - June 8, 2020

Published on June 8, 2020

1. Global health - Global Vaccine Summit 2020 - Message from Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic (Paris - June 4, 2020)

[Check against delivery.]


I would like to begin by thanking the United Kingdom for organizing this Global Vaccine Summit. A few months on from the success achieved in Lyon to replenish the resources of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, we must collectively do what’s necessary for the other essential pillar of global health: equal access to vaccines for everyone.

Twenty years ago the Vaccine Alliance was born out of a simple idea which has transformed millions of lives: make new, effective vaccines accessible and thus protect children all over the world from infectious diseases; ensure that everyone, whichever country they are born in, has equal access to vitally important vaccines.

These past 20 years have seen women and men committed to making this idea a reality by bringing together public and private actors and combining forces to speed things up and make a difference on the ground.

They have seen a generation of people better protected and able to build their lives. Seven hundred and sixty million children vaccinated. Thirteen million lives saved.

They have seen the fight against inequalities of destiny, which - let’s remember - owes so much to Nelson Mandela’s commitment in the first decade of this century. He refused to accept a child’s life or death depending too often on the accessibility of vaccines in his or her country of birth.

The story isn’t over. And it’s our turn to write it. The challenges remain colossal. We know what they are. Many low- and middle-income countries have made huge strides by improving immunization coverage.

Yet as WHO recalled a few days ago:

The targets set for eliminating diseases such as measles, rubella and maternal and neonatal tetanus may not be met if something isn’t done, and fast, between now and the end of 2020.

Tens of millions of children in the world are still not receiving the vaccines they need. And they are most often the ones exposed to conflict, insecurity and every kind of inequality.

The COVID-19 pandemic only amplifies these challenges, making them even more serious and more urgent. By weakening vaccination services worldwide, the crisis is exposing nearly 80 million children less than a year old to diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio.

It is therefore imperative for efforts to be stepped up to support the health systems of the most fragile countries and thus enable them to maintain vaccination programmes. That’s the first, major challenge of this replenishment conference.

Gavi needs resources today to continue carrying out its mission, i.e. vaccinating children, young people, teenagers and adults, thus saving eight million more lives in the next five years. Our fight against coronavirus must not prevent us from winning this other battle. It is vital to keep up efforts for vaccination against other diseases in order to avoid the scourge of disease outbreaks for diseases we know sadly all too well such as polio, measles and others which can be terribly deadly, such as Ebola and yellow fever.

France will play its full part in this effort, which must be historic in order to address the challenges ahead of us, with an additional effort of euro250 million, which brings our total contribution over the period 2021-2026 to euro500 million and adds to our increased mobilization alongside the World Health Organization, the Global Fund and the African health systems.

The second challenge is to ensure right now that a vaccine against COVID-19, when it’s discovered, benefits everyone, because it will be a global public good. That’s one of the key goals of the ACT-A initiative which we’ve been promoting together with the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the United Kingdom and many others and which is being implemented again today, through this conference. That’s why France will be ready, as the Alliance is asking, to increase its contribution by €100 million when an effective vaccine against COVID-19 is available, in order to ensure its distribution at an affordable price while maintaining the necessary level of commitment against other diseases.

What’s at stake now, during this conference, is what underpinned the Alliance’s foundation: the right of everyone to health. The basic right of each person, whatever country they live in, to enjoy the same opportunity to build their future. This is at the heart of the battle against all inequalities, and it’s a fundamental choice for the world, for today’s and tomorrow’s world. For the world we want to build after this pandemic. We commit to that.

Thank you.

2. United Nations - Launch of the Group of friends to combat marine plastic pollution - Statement by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations (New York - June 6, 2020)

Thank you very much Mona,

I would like to express my thanks to the co-chairs for taking the initiative to create this Group of Friends. It is very timely. France is very pleased to be among its founding members. The fight against marine plastic pollution is a global challenge that we must face together.

According to the 2019 IPBES report on biodiversity, marine plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting the biodiversity but also humans through food chains.

The increase in the use of plastic is exacerbated in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you all know, French maritime space is the second largest in the world with more than 10 million km2 and it is our duty to preserve it. We cannot allow the pollution of these plastics to be our legacy to future generations. France has made the fight against plastic pollution one of its main priorities. And last February, we adopted a law relating to the fight against waste and the circular economy with ambitious goals:

  • Aiming towards 100% of plastics recycled by 2025; and
  • Banning all single-use plastic by 2040.

At the international level, France is actively involved through various agreements, initiatives and working groups, for example, the UNEP expert group on plastics and microplastics on possible options for the prevention and international management of plastics and microplastics.

The "European Plastic Pact" was launched in March and signed by France, alongside other EU Member States, NGOs and businesses.

France believes that the long-term elimination of waste requires actions to prevent waste at source. With this Group of Friends, we will have the possibility (i) to better raise public awareness of the major problem of marine plastic pollution, (ii) to increase efforts towards SDG14 and (iii) to ensure that the fight against marine plastic pollution will be part of the "recover better".

Thank you all for your attention.

3. United Nations - Peace and security in Africa (G5 Sahel) - Statement in national capacity by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the security Council (New York - June 5, 2020)

I thank the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritania for their interventions.

I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the countries of the Sahel as well as to the victims’ families following the recent violence, especially in Burkina Faso.

I want to share two messages today.

First, France is convinced that the international community can succeed in stabilizing the Sahel, if it acts in a united and determined manner. The G5 Sahel joint force, under the resolute command of General Namata, and the national armies of these countries, have recently increased their military operations. Despite heavy losses, they achieved concrete results: neutralization of many terrorists, seizure of weapons and equipment, release of hostages. These armed forces gain more and more autonomy and coordination. In addition, the countries of the region, including Niger, a member of this Council, despite limited resources, show resilience and maintain a dynamic democratic life. We must salute their commitment.

Then, and this is my second point, the international community has recently increased its support, which is a key milestone for the success of our collective efforts. At the request of the G5 Sahel countries, France, together with the European Union, supported the launch of the Coalition for the Sahel this year. It rests on four pillars: the fight against terrorism, capacity building, return of the state and economic development, because all of these issues must work together.

This mobilization will continue in June with the first Ministerial Foreign Affairs meeting of the Coalition on June 12, 2020, preceded by a meeting of Defense Ministers.

On the ground, the launch of the Coalition resulted in the establishment of a joint command mechanism between the French force Barkhane and the armies of the G5 Sahel; increased commitment from partners, notably the European Union, but also the African Union, as well as ECOWAS and the UEMOA, which are funding a $2.3 billion anti-terrorist plan; and finally the launch of the Task Force Takuba, which brings together European special forces to support the Malian armed forces.

MINUSMA plays an essential role in this game, thanks to the support it provides to the operations of G5 Sahel forces. We must consolidate this United Nations support for the countries of the Sahel, to help them ensure the security of their territories and their populations.

I thank you.

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