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Explanation of Vote: Ensuring Equitable Access to Vaccines

Australia – Explanation of Vote after the Vote

Item 74(b) – A.C.3/76/L.55.Rev.1 – Ensuring Equitable Access to Vaccines

Thank you Chair.

Australia deeply regrets that we are in the position of having to explain our vote on this resolution at all. There is no higher priority for countries right now than access to COVID-19 vaccines. We strongly support the principles that this resolution sought to highlight: that is, equitable, affordable, timely and universal access to vaccines. For all of us, our own health security is tied to that of our neighbours, so we all have a stake in facilitating access as soon as possible.

However, we cannot fully support this text as drafted due to several substance concerns including that the resolution doesn’t reflect the careful balance of its source texts. We note the text was reproduced from a similar Human Rights Council resolution, yet relevant human rights and gender-related language found in the original text has been inexplicably removed from this version. References to marginalised groups have been systematically removed, despite the premise of this resolution being the need to ensure equitable and universal access for all.

These concepts – support for human rights, progressive language on gender equality issues, recognition of marginalised groups – are core business for the Third Committee. Australia believes it is not unreasonable that any resolution considered by the Third Committee should reflect this focus. And if that was not the intention of the penholders, then we question whether the resolution would have been more appropriately addressed in another forum.

Australia also has serious concerns on process of bringing forward this resolution. It was tabled at the last possible moment, leaving insufficient time for negotiations on a topic of such high importance. It contains a number of concepts that do not enjoy consensus and would have benefited from further time to discuss. We regret that member states did not have sufficient time to consider and debate this important issue properly.

Chair, given the priority we all place on the question of access to vaccines, we are confident this will not be the last opportunity to discuss these matters. While we could not fully support the resolution in front of us today, Australia looks forward to working constructively with all delegations in future to find compromises that work for all of us.

Thank you.

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