Speech by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda at the Global COVID-19 Summit:Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better Health Security to Prepare for the Next
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are facing an unprecedented global challenge of stopping the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting our people. This is not only a health crisis but also a social and economic one, with long-term impact on many aspects of our lives. It is a crisis that requires close cooperation of each and every one of us. Let me be clear: Poland will continue to stand with the international community in the struggle against the coronavirus and its harmful effects.
Poland has always been a responsible and reliable partner in the area of global health security. We have proven that by actively collaborating with other countries regarding relocation of international citizens during the early stage of global lockdown. The Polish government, and our airlines LOT, organized about 400 evacuation flights. We also helped our friends and partners from the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Turkey and South Korea to safely return home. Thanks to our actions, more than two thousand persons reached their destinations safe and sound.
Poland has been supporting the global vaccination effort through the COVAX mechanism. But we are also acting on our own – helping those in need on bilateral basis. We know that in order to save lives, the vaccines against COVID-19 must be distributed as soon as possible, especially to those who require them most urgently. We understand that very well. That is why we have already provided over 6 million doses of vaccines to other countries, including but not exclusive to: Ukraine, Vietnam, Spain, Australia, Portugal or Norway.
I assure you Poland will continue doing so.
Altogether, our COVID-19 international aid has amounted to 135 million euros, including our 750 thousand euros contribution to COVAX. Furthermore, Poland also provides countries that lack medical supplies with essential equipment – disposable masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer fluid – for frontline workers who need it in their fight against the virus.
On an European level, Polish government is actively engaged in adjusting EU policies to the health, social and economic challenges. It is in that spirit that in my letter to the presidents and heads of EU countries in April last year I proposed steps for international cooperation – a plan for Europe’s reaction to the pandemic.
Moreover, standing and responding in solidarity with our Eastern neighbors, we strive to become an EU aid coordinator for the Eastern Partnership countries. Within the Visegrad Group, we provide support in the fight against COVID-19 to the authorities and people of Libya.
Additionally, Poland, as a Team Europe member, is working hard to ensure that the EU response to the pandemic is fair. We are also joining our efforts to create an equal and safe access to testing and treatment. Globally, we are dedicated to improving world’s pandemic response, and promoting measures to make the World Health Organization better prepared to meet future challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I call on all of us to provide assistance to people affected by the pandemic, especially those in developing countries and conflict-affected areas.
Global leadership and international cooperation is crucial for building back better our economies and health security as well as preventing the devastating effects of health crises in the future.
Human life matters! We stand ready to join forces and do anything it takes to protect life both in Poland and around the world. You can count on us!