President Joko Widodo delivers his speech in a pre-recorded video at the 75th session of United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

Jokowi Demands Equal Access to Covid-19 Vaccine at UN General Assembly

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo called for no more rivalries in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and demanded equal access to the vaccine for all countries as he addressed the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The president described how the world is in dire need of stronger global unity to combat the virus.

“At a time when we ought to unite and work together to tackle the pandemic, what we see instead is deep division and growing rivalries,” Jokowi told the virtual conference in a pre-recorded speech on Wednesday.

“If division and rivalries continue to persist, the pillars of stability and sustainable peace will crumble or even be lost,” he added.

Jokowi urged member states to forge stronger ties to alleviate the pandemic's both health and socio-economic impact. The Covid-19 vaccine should also be accessible to all countries.

“Vaccine will be the game-changer in the war against the pandemic. We need to work together to ensure that all countries have equal access to a safe vaccine at an affordable price,” Jokowi said.

In the long run, better management of a resilient global health system is necessary. The resilience of the global health system based on national health resilience will determine the world's future, he added.

The president also encouraged countries to begin revitalizing the economy gradually by addressing the weaknesses of the global supply chain. Economic recovery program must also prioritize the health of global citizens to create a healthy and productive world.

"All of these can only be achieved if we work together, work together, and work together," Jokowi said.

Bridge-Builder
In his speech, Jokowi called for the UN's continuous improvements to prove that multilateralism delivers even during the time of crisis. He also encouraged the UN to foster stronger collective leadership.

"In international relations, every country protects its national interests. However, we must not forget that all of us bear the responsibility to be part of the solution for the world's peace, stability, and prosperity," Jokowi said.

At the global gathering, Jokowi stated Indonesia's commitment as a 'bridge-builder' in the spirit of cooperation, including when it held presidency of the UN Security Council last month.
 
"[This is] the spirit of benefiting all parties without leaving any country behind. No one, no country should be left behind," he said.
According to Jokowi, the same spirit was highlighted by Indonesia's founding father, Soekarno, at the 1955 Bandung Conference. The summit, attended by 29 Asian and African nations, resulted in the Bandung Principles ('Dasasila Bandung') -- a ten-point statement on world peace.

Jokowi said these principles remain relevant in today's world, especially when it comes to the peaceful settlement of disputes, global cooperation, and respect for international law. 

He then expressed Indonesia's unceasing support for Palestine as the only Bandung Conference participant who has yet become independent. 

Jokowi also spoke of the partnership between Indonesia and Asean countries to maintain peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

"The same spirit of cooperation and peace was put forward by Indonesia to a wider region, the Indo-Pacific region, through the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific," he said. 

First Appearance
This was Jokowi's first speech at the UN General Assembly since he first assumed office in 2014. For the past five years, he would delegate the task to his former Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Jokowi's remarks were also delivered entirely in Indonesian.

The pandemic also forced the assembly to be held both in-person and virtually for the first time. World leaders sent a pre-recorded speech to the global gathering whereas representatives were present at the UN headquarters in New York.
 

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