'We must continue to safeguard lives and livelihoods,' Ramaphosa tells Brics summit

09 September 2021 - 16:07
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the virtual 13th Brics Summit on Thursday. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the virtual 13th Brics Summit on Thursday. File photo.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged leaders at the 13th Brics summit to work together to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

“The pandemic has reinforced our belief that representative multilateralism is key to a sustainable future for all,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa, who is the AU champion on Covid-19, made the remarks on Thursday during the virtual 13th Brics Summit, convened by India.

He told heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India and China that the pandemic had devastated livelihoods, economies and communities globally.

“Our collective response has demonstrated what can be achieved when we work together ... As the Brics countries, we must continue to safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods, support global economic recovery and enhance the resilience of all our public systems,” said Ramaphosa.

“We each need to contribute our fair share to the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator and support the Trips [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] waiver at the WTO to ensure a rapid expansion of Covid-19 vaccine production across the world.”

Ramaphosa welcomed a decision to set up a virtual Brics vaccine research and development centre.

He told the leaders to deepen their partnerships and actively strive towards a world of better health and shared prosperity.

“We are now in the final decade towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. We must remain focused on the attainment of better health outcomes, while also pursuing the goals of quality education, decent work, climate action, peace and justice.”

He welcomed the joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral system issued by foreign ministers in June.

“We call on Brics to be equally bold and determined in seeking reform of the UN Security Council, among other things, to enable Africa to take its rightful place among the collective of nations in this crucial body.”