The Global Student Forum supports the Movement of International Students for the Trips Waiver: Lift vaccines patents for the sake of humanity!
Ettore Bucci II At the end of January 2022, in the frame of the day-to-day dissemination campaign for the vaccine justice started with the 2021 international students summit in Port-of-Spain, the Global Student Forum joined a global coalition composed by more than 40 NGOs and Youth CSOs calling for a TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organisation for Covid-19 related treatment and therapeutics on COVID-19. The decision at the WTO should be made in the coming weeks before the end of the month. We wrote to the leaders of the European Union, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Norway as student and youth groups around the world.
As we wrote in the letter, “the blocking of the TRIPS waiver and the failure to share the necessary technology has fundamentally undermined the right to live full lives. There is no reason to leave the burden of fixing this system to us as future generations when immediate solutions exist today”.
The importance of a global student-led organisation to speak up is related to the ‘Pact of Rome’ (5-6 September 2021) for the Vaccine Justice drawn up by the Italian Presidency of G20 in 2021: a declaration of great hopes and shared wishes, but which lacks concreteness and strong financial commitments. The ‘Pact’ mentioned in a correct sense one our issue: “The pandemic – they wrote – is affecting mental health and well-being, due to isolation, rising unemployment, food insecurity, increased violence against women and girls and constrained access to education as well as health services including sexual and reproductive health. The pandemic and its socioeconomic consequences have a disproportionately heavy impact on women and girls, older persons, persons with disabilities, young people, children, as well as the poorest and most vulnerable”. While the pandemic is radically changing even the public discourse on justice, spending, and the role of the State, the more advantaged Countries in the world stand as a bulwark of pharmaceutical company licences, preventing even a suspension. Such selfishness in the defence of a monopoly privilege must be analysed in a context in which, despite the right reminders of the WHO, the richest Countries are proceeding with successful vaccination campaigns. In reiterating our firm adherence to each vaccination campaign, especially to ensure full enjoyment of educational, academic and research activities, we denounce an incredible and self-defeating selfishness carried out by the richest Countries. Their vaccination campaign doesn’t take into account the hardships of low and middle income countries (particularly in the African region, ignoring the recent recall of the African Union in the same days of the 6th EU-AU Summit), relying on charity or on distribution through the COVAX program.
The Global Student Forum advocates the immediate waiver of the TRIPS agreement at the WTO before the next general meeting in March: The easiest and efficient way to bring the current pandemic under control. At the same time, we invite policymakers all over the world to facilitate knowledge and technology transfer during pandemics, particularly through new funding sources in public research incentivising innovation against future pandemics. We ask to disavow corporate and nationalist monopolies on vaccine production, research and development and act to rebalance vaccine distribution that values people first and profit second. We demand consideration to promote evidence-based and culturally sensitive information campaigns as vital, in order to engage the public in order to tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccine uptake. No profit on pandemic!