Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

High-Level Debate on Galvanizing Momentum for Universal Vaccination

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

25 February 2022

United Nations General Assembly

Mr. President,

I am pleased to address this High-Level Debate on Galvanizing Momentum for Universal Vaccination.

The unprecedented speed of transmission of the Omicron variant has underlined what has been clear since the beginning of the pandemic – that none of us are safe until all of us are safe.

Despite this, the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to be uneven, unbalanced and unfair.

The current approach is not only inequitable but also self-defeating.

Until the vaccine gap is bridged, we continue to be at risk: of new variants, of rising inequality, and of deepening social divides.

As the only intergovernmental organisation exclusively devoted to advancing peaceful and sustainable development through the rule of law, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) is committed to supporting an equitable recovery from COVID-19, including through universal vaccination.

Working at the intersection of law, health and development, we help countries to develop rule of law solutions to public health challenges.

Our experience has shown that, at the national level, the rule of law is a powerful tool for establishing the enabling legal frameworks that facilitate universal vaccination.

By promoting equality and adherence to human rights, the rule of law helps ensure that national pandemic responses, including vaccine rollouts, are equitable, effective, and non-discriminatory.

Furthermore, by helping build strong and accountable institutions, the rule of law supports countries to strengthen their health systems and develop efficient and transparent regimes for the procurement and management of vaccines.

Finally, by strengthening integrity and countering corruption, the rule of law helps build trust between citizens and the state, encouraging uptake of vaccination initiatives.

Since the pandemic began, IDLO has collaborated with WHO and other partners to assist countries to strengthen their legal and policy frameworks to prevent, and respond to, public health emergencies, including COVID-19.  

At the international level, COVID-19 has made clear that we need rules-based mechanisms that allow countries to cooperate collectively, and equitably, to tackle global challenges like pandemic preparedness and vaccine equity.

The rule of law is essential to developing fair and effective international mechanisms to share vaccine resources and supply, to finance and expand production, and to strengthen supply chains and distribution.

Now more than ever, the consequences of putting narrow self-interest over solidarity, and unilateral action over multilateral collaboration, will be catastrophic.

I am confident that working together, with the rule of law at the centre of our efforts, we can overcome the challenges of the present moment and achieve universal vaccination.

IDLO remains committed to working with all partners to promote a more just, inclusive and sustainable recovery.