Queen calls for global vaccine equity during virtual Warwick Economics Summit

By JT - Feb 06,2021 - Last updated at Feb 06,2021

Her Majesty Queen Rania called on the international community to address issues fuelling rising inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the need for equitable global COVID-19 vaccine distribution (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN, Feb. 6, 2021: Her Majesty Queen Rania called on the international community to address issues fuelling rising inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the need for equitable global COVID-19 vaccine distribution. “We are all in a race against a pandemic, not against each other,” Queen Rania said, adding that any single country’s inability to recover from this crisis could lead to instability and insecurity for all, according to a Royal Court statement. Her Majesty made these comments while participating virtually in the Warwick Economics Summit, featuring an interview with Queen Rania on Saturday, conducted by CNN news anchor Becky Anderson.

Her Majesty explained that while some wealthy countries have pre-ordered enough vaccine doses to immunise their populations three times over, “lower income countries will at best only manage to vaccinate a tenth of their populations” this year. “I see no reason why those who have excess supply can’t donate their surplus to poorer countries, and I’m glad that some countries have committed to doing just that,” the Queen said, echoing His Majesty King Abdullah’s calls for vaccinations to be treated as a global public good. “If we aren’t motivated by moral or ethical responsibility, then at least we should be motivated to act from a global health standpoint,” she said.

“This pandemic has revealed and reinforced cracks in our world order, along lines of income inequality, gender inequity, and social injustice,” Her Majesty said, adding that, while everyone has suffered some kind of loss since the start of the pandemic, “this loss hasn’t been felt equally.” “While some people are enjoying the benefits of rebounding global markets, far too many people around the world are suffering from parallel pandemics of hunger, violence, and illiteracy,” she added. “In fact, for the first time in 20 years, extreme poverty is back on the rise.”

The Queen went on to highlight current challenges to global education, stating that COVID-19 has caused the greatest disruption to education in human history, with school closures affecting 1.6 billion learners. “Access to education has never been fair, but the disparities that we are seeing today, both within and across countries, are quite staggering. A child’s fate hinges on which side of the digital divide they fall, and far too many — millions, in fact — are falling on the wrong side.” Her Majesty underscored the need to strengthen education systems by developing remote learning solutions and making them universally accessible. “Online learning solutions aren’t just band-aid measures for temporary problems. They reinforce our education systems by offering contingency options.”

The Queen also called for the international community to prioritise closing the global education funding gap, noting that UNESCO has warned that it is approaching USD 200 billion per year. “That might sound like a lot, but when you think about it, it’s only 10 percent of global military expenditures,” she said. “There is no excuse for us not to make an effort to close that gap.” Describing school and daycare closures as “nothing short of a full-scale crisis for a lot of working moms,” Her Majesty explained that women worldwide have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, adding that they are more likely to work in sectors impacted by lockdowns and are often the first to be let go or forced from their jobs.

“That is really tough on mothers and families, but it is also terrible for the global economy,” she said, noting that today marks an opportunity to ”revamp, rethink, and redesign the workplace so that it better meets the needs of men and women.” Despite current challenges, Her Majesty pointed out that this period has also shown some of our strengths as an international community, particularly regarding global efforts to contain and cure COVID-19. “If we take the development of vaccines, for example, it would have taken us years to get to this point had it not been for the coordination and collaboration of the medical community,” Queen Rania said. “That was a really shining, undeniable example of how a crisis can fuel innovation, and how, when we put our politics and national identities aside and work toward a common goal, we can achieve so much for so many.”

She went on to urge the audience to carry that spirit of collaboration forward into a “post-pandemic world,” and to make “all people’s wellbeing our new bottom line.” “Whatever ‘normal’ we go back to, I know that we cannot go back to the ‘old normal’ that left too many people behind,” she stressed. “If we’ve learnt one thing from this crisis, it’s that we’re only as strong as the weakest among us.” The 2021 Warwick Economics Summit, held virtually and accessible for free online for the first time this year, is one of the largest student-run economics conferences in Europe.

Now in its 20th edition, the three-day summit gathers university students from around the world to hear from global thought leaders on a broad range of social and economic topics. This year’s speakers included former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, OECD Secretary General Ángel Gurría, economist Jeffrey Sachs, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former prime minister of Finland Esko Aho, and Financial Times CEO John Ridding.

Jordan to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week: Obeidat

Jordan to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week: Obeidat

AMMAN, Jan 8, 2021: The Minister of Health Nathir Obeidat Friday announced that Jordan will receive the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week, adding that the vaccination campaign could start next week as well. He pointed out that Jordan may be among the first 40 countries in the world to start vaccination programs. Obeidat pointed out that the government is not considering reimposing a long total lockdown, even if the number of coronavirus cases increases again. He said that Jordan is witnessing, for the seventh consecutive week, a continuous decrease in the number of cases, which is an important and positive indicator.

He added that other positive indicators include the percentage of positive PCR test results which has decreased. Obaidat pointed out that the COVID-19 situation in Jordan is improving but citizens must not forget that the rest of the world is recording large numbers of cases. There are countries that are suffering and imposing lockdowns, therefore Jordanians must commit to all preventive measures. Regarding the new virus mutations, he said so far there has been no change in the 'behavior of this virus.' Jordan Royal News.

Majority of Jordanians Continue to Empathise With Refugees:UNHCR Study

AMMAN, Dec 17, 2020:: A new study released on Wednesday by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, revealed that 94 per cent of the Jordanian public view refugees in a positive manner, with the majority stating that they are empathetic towards people forced to flee their country and the challenges they continue to face, according to a statement from the UN agency. Carried out in coordination with the NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, a Jordan-based research institute, the study surveyed through phone interviews a sample of Jordanians living in Amman, Mafraq and Karak governorates to get an updated analysis of Jordanian public perception of refugees. 

When asked about the Jordanian Government’s response towards refugees, over 90 per cent of respondents rated it as positive. “We have said it time and time again, but the Jordanian public and government continue to lead the way in showing kindness and generosity towards refugees, and we now have the data to back that up,” said UNHCR Representative to Jordan Dominik Bartsch in the statement. Despite the overwhelming empathy towards refugees, at the same time, the survey reveals that 87 per cent of Jordanians believe that there are too many refugees in Jordan and 83 per cent say that Jordan has done more than it needs to help refugees, said the statement. 

“It is clear that the Syrian crisis has increased pressure on national systems. However, the continued inclusion of refugees in education, health services and the job market is part of the response we jointly put in place with the Government of Jordan. Until refugees can safely go back to their country of origin, support from the international community is critical in providing sustainable solutions for protracted conflicts,” added Bartsch. As part of the survey, 73 per cent of Jordanians stated that they would be willing to personally help refugees in the Kingdom, with 40 per cent already having donated money to support the most vulnerable.

Finally, over 92 per cent of respondents also indicated that they have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the deterioration of the economy and increased unemployment rate. While this did not translate in a direct change of opinion towards refugees, it represents, nevertheless, an important element to consider in future surveys. In this regard, this first wave of the survey will be followed by two additional waves in 2021 to continue to closely monitor the Jordanian public perception of refugees. Based on the results of the survey and coinciding with its 30th anniversary in Jordan, the UNHCR confirms its continued commitment to help Jordan bear the burden of hosting refugees and work to achieve solutions which allow refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity, concluded the statement.