Canada has been a leading donor to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and stands ready to further support responses to rapidly evolving humanitarian needs, including in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, met with the UN and key international partners at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response, as well as with experienced partners on the front lines of humanitarian crises, including in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Minister Sajjan met with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, and with humanitarian civil society organizations, to discuss the major humanitarian crises unfolding in Ukraine and Afghanistan, and to determine how Canada can best continue to support their efforts. Canada’s humanitarian support in Ukraine includes emergency health services, protection, support to displaced populations and essential life-saving services such as shelter, water and sanitation, and food. In Afghanistan, Canada is contributing to the provision of life-saving assistance, such as emergency food and nutrition services, and to protection and logistics services for the dispatch of humanitarian goods.
During a roundtable discussion with Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partners, including Dr. Bill Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), and Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, the Minister highlighted the importance that Canada places on addressing delivery and distribution challenges related to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as on strengthening health systems for now and into the future. He also underscored Canada’s commitment to end the pandemic through its support to all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator. Canada’s recent contributions to ACT-Accelerator partners, including the WHO, Gavi, the Global Fund, Unitaid and FIND, totals $130.4 million.
At a meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) Deputy Director, Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the discussion centered on the humanitarian and health impacts of the conflict in Ukraine, including its disproportionate impact on women and children, and the WHO’s work in Ukraine to address the current humanitarian situation. Canada is contributing to the WHO’s overall health response in Ukraine, which is focused on saving lives, ensuring access to basic health services for those affected by the armed conflict, COVID-19, polio and other health threats.
“As the world grapples with multiple crises, Canada has stepped up to support those most impacted. We continue to work with our partners, such as the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator, the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to see how Canadian assistance can be best used to deliver real and tangible results to increase vaccine equity and help the people of Ukraine and Afghanistan. We will continue to work together to strengthen coordination and international responses to crises, whether caused by pandemics or conflict.”