GCAP has been active in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Below or in the News section our latest resources and statements can be found.
GCAP National Coalition members in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Japan led the embassy actions organised by People’s Vaccine Alliance, Asia Chapter on 27-28 July when the WTO General Council meeting took place.
The members sent letters demanding support for the TRIPS Waiver proposal by email to the embassy of UK, Germany, EU, Norway, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. These are the countries and groups which are either opposing or not clearly supporting the TRIPS waiver proposal put forward by India and South Africa on Covid vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and medicines.
Colleagues from other networks and coalitions, such as APMD, also joined the mobilisation efforts!
How to finance a People´s Vaccine?
An article in the New York times gave the answer on June 24, 2021:
The #IMF could issue Special Drawing Rights #SDR, which would give countries a “shot” at recovery and provide much needed liquidity and fiscal stimulus package as described in a new article in the New York Times: https://t.co/tX58KjcHIq#FacesOfInequality
— Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) (@whiteband) June 29, 2021
“If the dangerous trend of vaccine nationalism & hoarding in wealthier countries continues, it could delay a global recovery. We must ensure that vaccines are available & affordable to all as soon as possible.” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General on April 5, 2021.
The Peoples Vaccine Alliance (PVA) in Asia is calling on Japan, Singapore and South Korea to take action on the voices of citizens across Asia and the global South by supporting the ‘temporary TRIPS Waiver’ proposal at the WTO’s general council meeting on 30th April, 2021, and ensuring big pharmaceutical companies and rich country governments voluntarily join the WHO-led COVID-19 Technology Access Pool.
The appeal letter to Asian governments comes from 100 organizations including ActionAid, APCASO, Asia Dalit Rights Forum, Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), Global Call to Action Against Poverty -Asia (GCAP-Asia), Oxfam International, South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication, Fight Inequality Alliance India and 50 prominent individuals.
Compared to the terrifying speed at which the virus is spreading and mutating, as we are witnessing in India, scaling up global COVID-19 vaccine access and inoculation has been painfully slow.
Most of the world’s population, especially in middle- and lower-income countries, lack access to the vaccine. At the speed at which vaccination is proceeding, it will take decades to vaccinate all who need it.
The intellectual property over COVID-19 vaccines is owned by big pharmaceutical corporations who are refusing to share the science and technology required to speed up mass production and distribution for the entire planet.
“No single corporation will ever be able to produce enough vaccine doses quickly for everyone who needs it. If history has taught us anything, it is that pharmaceutical corporations create and protect monopolies in order to maximise profits instead of improving public health. We have seen this in the past with vital medicines for illnesses like HIV or cancer that have been priced far too high, out of reach for most people”, said Karyn Kaplan of Asia Catalyst.
A temporary waiver of World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, proposed by South Africa and India and supported by more than 100 WTO member states and numerous health experts worldwide, is a vital, necessary and urgent step to bring an end to this pandemic.
A waiver of WTO TRIPS rules must be combined with ensuring vaccine know-how and technology is shared openly. This can be achieved through the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. These actions would expand global manufacturing capacity, unhindered by industry monopolies that are driving the dire supply shortages blocking vaccine access.
“When the pharmacy of the world is gasping for breath, keeping a monopoly over vaccine science for the sake of profit is immoral, self-defeating, and a collective failure”, said Mustafa Talpur, campaign and advocacy manager of Oxfam International in Asia.
All these roadblocks to control COVID-19 spread are surmountable. The Asia region has a world-class generic pharmaceutical industry. With a little more shared technology and know-how, Asia-based companies can quickly support new manufacturing capacity in other countries, thereby reducing the negative impacts of COVID and improving response capacity for future pandemics. Countries in Asia, including China, India, Thailand, and others have demonstrated capacity to produce vaccines.
“Vaccine equity will directly improve health outcomes, as no one is safe until everyone is safe. It is key to the enjoyment of human rights and is equally vital to a comprehensive economic rebuilding out of inequality, poverty and hunger. There is no time to lose! This is an urgent call for a solidaristic, humanitarian and accountable response to save millions of Asian people and their futures”, said Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid Association India.
The impact of the crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable groups is becoming increasingly evident. Recent analysis shows that the COVID crisis risks pushing half a billion people into poverty The UN has estimated that the pandemic could almost double the number of people suffering acute hunger, pushing it to more than a quarter of a billion by the end of 2020 and there are predictions of at least 15m more cases of domestic violence around the world this year as a result of pandemic restrictions.
In response to the global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented coalition of over 400 organisations working on human rights and sustainable development in every continent have come together, co-organized by GCAP, including community volunteers, local civil society groups, and major non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to demand a 12-point plan from world leaders. As governments consider key steps towards recovery, we are calling for a joined up plan to fight the crisis and build a just recovery that tackles the interlinked challenges of providing universal healthcare, reducing inequalities and guaranteeing human rights; alongside the critical need to re-think our economies in response to the parallel crises of climate change and biodiversity.
There are also clear political messages from GCAP’s network:
- We cannot build back the system as it was before…
- …a system of exclusion and suffering for so many, a system that destroys the climate and biodiversity – no money for fossil fuel industries
- We need to demand immediate debt cancellation and tax justice – for example no recovery money for companies using tax havens,
- and we need to protect civic space curtailed by many governments.
GCAP has been active and our colleagues are reporting activities happening at local and national levels – there is such solidarity taking place! Read GCAP’s statement on COVID-19: Putting the Most Vulnerable First.
We would like to encourage you to support for the most vulnerable. We need to continue this spirit the coming weeks and months to avoid more suffering.
The public and politicians need to hear the voices of marginalized peoples and civil society!
Let’s start a movement for global solidarity and a just and ecological recovery now!
GCAP and other CSOs organized a mass social media movement on 22 May under the hashtag #StrongerTogether. The results were impressive: 6,000 posts which reached 43 million people & 126 million impressions in 100+ countries. Read more about the Global Day of Solidarity and see the materials below:
- GCAP Newsletter June 2020 – Global Solidarity Action! – 3 June 2020
- GCAP Newsletter May 2020 – 22/05: Global Solidarity Action – #StrongerTogether! – 20 May 2020
- GCAP toolkit of #StrongerTogether colorful example actions for global solidarity
- SolidarityinAction.org: #StrongerTogether microsite
- Covid Citizen Action campaign Trello board with graphics with key messages and sample posts
- #StrongerTogether Trello board – more materials and info!
Key information and statements
- COVID-19 : Global Joint Civil Society Statement – 24 April 2020
GCAP developed and signed together with several hundred organizations the following statement. See also the campaign website covidcitizenaction.org, where you can also sign the statement, see a map of global actions, and find our advocacy letter template.
- GCAP on COVID-19: Putting the Most Vulnerable First – 20 March 2020
The world is facing a global emergency affecting people and countries with no distinctions. In this particular time the Global Call for Action against Poverty (GCAP), with all its National Coalitions and Constituency Groups all over the world, wants to share its concerns and solidarity with all the people suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, and with all the communities struggling against the outbreak. Our political motto is “Stand Together” to struggle for justice, against poverty and inequalities. Today we want to stand together with those who are suffering, with victim’s families, and with all the affected communities. We also want to share a special thanks to all the people working to stop the outbreak, in the health systems and in all other fundamental services, and to the people assisting those who are in need. Read more.
- Results of GCAP survey on COVID-19 – May 7 2020
To better understand the responses and the needs that have arisen due to the COVID-19 crisis around the world, GCAP conducted a survey in April of the GCAP National Coalitions, of Civil Society Organisations and Constituency Groups. A total of 25 answers were received from 19 countries and two Constituency Groups – the Social Justice Task Force and the Women’s and Feminist Constituency Group.
- GCAP on Covid-19 and Racism – 30 April 2020
GCAP strongly condemns the recent cases of racism in relation with the Coronavirus pandemic and calls for strong reactions from governments, civil society and the international community.
Over 200 networks and organisations have signed a statement calling for cancellation of debt payments in 2020.
- Evacuate refugee camps to prevent a catastrophe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – 24 March 2020
GCAP Europe together with 200 civil society organisations in Europe has signed an urgent appeal to the EU’s leading politicians and the head of the Greek government: “We urge you to evacuate the refugee camps and hotspots on the Greek islands immediately in order to prevent a catastrophe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Leave No Woman Behind Statement
- Needs of Women with Disabilities Must Be Critically Addressed in the Fight Against COVID-19 – 22 May 2020
Women and girls with disabilities represent more than half of all persons with disabilities worldwide and almost 20% of all women worldwide. But their needs and rights are largely unmet, clothed in invisibility. These existing gender, age, disability and structural inequalities in public and private environments are being exacerbated by the multifaceted impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Read more.
Statement by Social Justice Task Force
GCAP National Coalitions
- GCAP Asia statement released on the eve of 7th APFSD – 18 May 2020
- GCAP Afghanistan: GCAP Afghanistan / Afghanistan Global Civil Society Consortium Joint Statement on Prevention of COVID-19 – 25 March 2020
- GCAP Cambodia : Joint Statement on COVID-19 – 6 April 2020
- GCAP India: WNTA Statement on COVID-19 Emergency in India – 24 March 2020
- GCAP Japan: Now is the time to take measures based on the principles of the SDGs: Japan Civil Society Network on SDGs Statement on combating COVID-19 – 6 April 2020
- GCAP Nepal: An Appeal for Solidarity and Support to Cope with the Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic in Nepal – 31 March 2020
- GCAP Pakistan:
- Pakistan CSOs Statement on COVID 19 Response by Government – 27 April 2020
- Statement from GCAP Pakistan on COVID-19 Outbreak – 25 March 2020
- GCAP Mauritius: GCAP Mauritius & Halley Movement Coalition Statement on COVID-19 – 2 April 2020
- GCAP Malawi: COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response – 31 March 2020
- GCAP Senegal: GCAP Senegal Position on COVID-19 – 2 April 2020
- GCAP Uganda: Statement on COVID-19 – 6 April 2020
- GCAP Zambia: Zambia and COVID-19 – 3 April 2020
- GCAP Zimbabwe:
- COVID-19: Promoting support for diverse communities in Zimbabwe – 31 March 2020
- NANGO newsletter documenting COVID-19 outbreak in Zimbabwe – 17 April 2020
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)