Spain announces more vaccine donations, more money to fight climate change
By Jose Miguel Blanco
United Nations, Sep 22 (EFE).- Spain on Wednesday at the United Nations announced that it will increase by 7.5 million doses the amount of anti-Covid vaccine it will to donate to the neediest countries and will devote 30 million euros ($35.1 million) to the fund to help the world adapt to and fight climate change.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made public the pair of announcements he will include in his speech late on Wednesday before the UN General Assembly.
The premier’s speech was moved up by one day from its originally scheduled time because his UN agenda had to be collapsed from four days to just one because he had had to travel to the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands to monitor firsthand the recent eruption of the volcano there.
Sanchez will begin his speech to the General Assembly with a reference to the eruption and the consequences for the local population on the island, he himself said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The main points he will touch on in his speech, he said, will be the need for there to be robust democracies, noting that having governments of this type allow countries to deal with all sorts of emergencies such as those caused by the coronavirus pandemic or climate change, and emphasizing that to ensure that healthy democracies exist one must foster the multilateralism that the UN represents.
Along with that, Sanchez made two announcements that he believes will enable emergencies such as these to be dealt with.
The first of these is that Spain will add 7.5 million doses of anti-Covid vaccine to the 22.5 million it has already donated to the Covax mechanism, this additional donation to come during the first quarter of 2022.
Of the 22.5 million initial doses, 7.5 were to be for Latin America and the Caribbean, but Sanchez said that that figure will be doubled and a total of 15 million doses will go to the region from Spain.
The remaining 7.5 million doses of the original 22.5 million will go to the countries of Subsaharan Africa and to the southern portion of the European Union.
Sanchez emphasized that Spain was the first country in the EU to immunize 100 percent of its population above age 80 and is in the first rank of countries that are donating vaccine to help other nations, ranked at No. 7 in the world and No. 3 in the EU.
He said that this effort demonstrated the solidarity of Spanish society with other nations.
Along those same lines, the premier said that Spain will contribute 2 million euros ($2.3 million) more to the “Accelerator ACT” initiative launched by the World Health Organization.
The second announcement before the General Assembly that Sanchez will make, he said, will be for Spain – a month before the COP26 summit in Glasgow where commitments on financial backing for the climate change fight will be signed – to contribute 30 million euros in 2022 to the so-called adaptation fund.
He said that Spain will work so that the Glasgow summit will be a success, declaring that “the time to act is now.”
“We cannot wait,” he said, emphasizing that the transformation that the world needs must be fair and, to accomplish that, the climate change emergency must be responded to from a comprehensive perspective.
Sanchez took advantage of his stay in New York to meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at which the two men discussed the preparations for the alliance summit to be held in Madrid next year.
But at their meeting the two men also discussed the crisis between the United States and France over the defense agreement the Joe Biden administration struck with Australia and the United Kingdom that has frustrated French plans to sell diesel-powered submarines to Canberra.
Sanchez expressed to Stoltenberg his willingness to cooperate on what may be needed to reestablish confidence between what he called “two historic allies.”
At the same time, he expressed his solidarity with French President Emmanuel Macron over the loss of the submarine construction contract.