Open letter to the UN Secretary General on Covid-19, Health and Global Public Goods

The Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth proposes solutions to current crisis, based on the commons

AGORA OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH

OPEN LETTER TO

THE GENERAL SECRETARY

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

ON COVID-19, HEALTH AND GLOBAL PUBLIC GOODS

Brussels 7 July 2020

Annex: An Agenda for Change. Universal Rights and Global Public Goods 

 

Mr. Secretary General,

The UN Economic and Social Council has alerted the international community to growing inequalities in health between the world’s populations, particularly when confronting the Covid-19 pandemic[1]. Since May 2020 there have been numerous appeals and proposals calling for the 75th UN General Assembly to affirm that any future Covid-19 vaccine must be a common good, a global public good, free of charge, and that the right to health for all should prevail over the interest of financial profitability and “health security” of the wealthier populations in the richest countries[2].

However, to date, the interests of the powerful seem to be dominating the responses in the fight against the pandemic (and against poverty). As long as these structural causes, which fuel the primacy of the strongest, are not eliminated, we cannot change this course.

In the field of global health, there are three root causes of inequalities to be eradicated as a priority:

  • the right to private appropriation of living organisms for profit introduced in legislation on Intellectual Property (as early as 1980 by the United States and confirmed, in 1998, by an EU Directive);
  • xenophobic nationalist tendencies in security matters prevailing over the principle of common and shared responsibility of peoples and states for to safeguard, care for and to promoting the life of all the inhabitants of the Earth;
  • mechanisms of global finance that currently fuel growing wealth inequality between and within countries, privatization of savings and credit activities being among the most critical. This inequality has also been well documented in a recent UNCTAD report[3].

In light of the above, and recognising your personal commitment to the right to life for all of the Earth’s inhabitants, we ask you, Mr. Secretary General, to bring to the attention of those responsible and to support at the 75th UN General Assembly the review and approval of the following three initiatives:

    1. Abandoning the patentability of any Covid-19 vaccine for the years 2020 and 2021 by any private or for-profit entity, based upon rivalry of exclusive manufacture, and creating a UN’s global task force to undertake a revision of the existent laws on intellectual property, so that they may be adapted to the current global requirement for this global pandemic. The objective is to instead favor the design and implementation at both regional and global levels, under the responsibility of public policy, of a more cooperative and mutual system for the pooling of knowledge and technology in the area of health, to bring about an effective realization of the right to universal and free access to therapies against Covid-19.
    2. Promote the launch of a global program “Novel Finance for Universal Health”. The aim of such program will be to promote a powerful autonomous, and self-generative capacity for the production and the accumulation of sustainable financial resources from the so-called “poor” nations, emphasizing the regeneration of public savings banks, public credit institutions, public insurance companies, and especially close international South-South cooperation agreements, while also incorporating a transformed World Bank, which will gradually become the world’s ”deposit and consignment bank”. Included in this must be a ban on derivatives and hedge funds activity in the area of health; the elimination of tax havens and a novel taxation on grand fortunes. The increase of local autonomous financial resources is fundamental, especially in those areas of other activities relating to common and public goods essential for life (such as water, food, energy, housing and, last but not least, education).
    3. Forming a working group charged with evaluating and formulating proposals on the creation of a World Security Council for global Common and Public Goods (to start with: water, health, knowledge). The Council would have a three functions: alert/oversight (observation, anticipation, detection of emergencies, risk assessment); initiative (preparation of dossiers for the public authorities responsible for supervision, proposals for legislative interventions…); sanction (where there were to be a failure to respect the security of public health institutions).

Vaccines, Finance and Security, these are the three main axes of our proposals.

We offer you a gracious thank you in advance, for your kind attention and your sympathetic consideration of these proposals as part of your commitment to a just common global public health policy.

We wish you a fruitful General Assembly.

Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth


Notes:

[1] Report published on 22nd of July 2020 by the ECOSOC High Level Segment: “Multilateralism after COVID-19: What kind of UN do we need on its 75th anniversary?” https://www.un.org/pga/74/wp-content/uploads/sites/99/2020/08/Letter-from-President-ECOSOC-to-PGA-Outcome-of-the-Multilateralism-Session.pdf .

[2] Here we cite the dozens of Heads of State and of Governments on who issued a statement on behalf of the President of South Africa and calls from hundreds of prestigious personalities from the world of science, economics and of culture, Pope Francis, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders, and other NGOs, including our small organisation “Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth”.

(3) UNCTAD Trade and Development Proposals: South-South Cooperation at the time of COVID-19 https://www.southsouth-galaxy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/gdsinf2020d4_en-1.pdf


Signatures

Alphabetical order. 176 Signatories from 33 countries

(*) Not members of “Agora”

 

Dalia Acosta, Journalist (Cuba)*

Alain Adriaens, Ecologist,  Former Municipal Counsellor  (Belgium)

Vittorio Agnoletto, Ass.Prof. Globalisation and Health, Milan Univ.(Italy)*

Mateo Alaluf, Emeritus Professor, Free University of Brussels- ULB (Belgium)*

Flaviana Alves Barbosa, President SINDSAUDE (Brazil)

Michel Aragno, Biologist, Emeritus Professor, Univ.of Neuchatel (Switzerland)

Marcos P Arruda, Economist, Educator (Brazil)

Ferando Ayala, Former Diplomat (Chile)

Said Ayachi, Pres. Algerian C.tee of Solidarity with Sahraoui People (Algeria)*

Alessane Ba, Dir. Centre Hum.de Métiers de la Pharmacie (France)

Guido Barbera, Pres.NGO CIPSI, (Italy)

Marcelo Barros, Benedictine Monk (Brazil)

Piero Basso, NGO ”Costituzione Beni Comuni” (Italy)*

Brita Bastogi, Comtesse (Denmark)*

Nadia Batok, International Relations, (Macedonia & Italy)

Liberato Bautista, Pres. NGO Committee of  United Nations (Philippines)

Fadi Benaddi, Prés.Institut européen de la Culture Arabe, Brussel,s (Belgium)*

Paolo Bertagnolli, Former president”Centro Pace Bolzano” (Italy)

Yves Berthelot, Former Président ,OMCT (France)*

Fabian Bicciré, Professor, National University of Rosario, UNR (Argentina)

Marc Bontemps, Former Director, Oxfam-Wereldwinkels (Belgium)*

Menotti Bottazzi, Activist, International Solidarity (France)*

Giovanni Brandimante, Public Health and Human Rights (Italy)

Jacques Brodeur,  Pres. NGO “Education à la Paix(CND-Québec)

Francis Carlier, Ligue de Sainte-Walburge (Belgium

Cecilia Capanna, Director, Othernews (Italy)

Joao Caraça, President, University of Coimbra (Portugal)

Beranrd Cassen, Former Dir. Gén, Le monde diplomatique (France)

Manuel de la Iglesia Caruncho, Journalist and writer (Spain)

Albert Carton, Trade Unionist (Belgium)*

Marcos Carvalho, Psychologist (Brazil)

Sergio & Clara Castioni. Librarians (Italy)

Luca Cecchi, Retail Trader (Italy)

Monique Cerisier ben Guiga, Honorary Senator (France)*

Roberto Colombo, Mayor, Canegrate-Milan (Italy)

Francesco Comina , Journalist, Bolzano Theatre (Italy)

Edgardo Condeza Vaccaro, Pres. NGO “Mov Consulta y Derechos” (Chile)

Robin Correa, Member of associations (France)

Alain Dangoisse, Dir. Maison du développement, Cath. Univ. Louvain (Belgium)

Ina Darmstaedter, International Berliner Peace Festival (Germany)

Virgilio Dastoli, Pres. European Movement (Italy)

Éric David,, Emeritus Professor, Free University of Brussels (Belgium)*

Edwin de Boevé,  Director, Dynamo International (Belgium)*

Véronique Dekeyser, Hon. Member of the European Parliament (Belgium)*

Jean-Marc Delgery,Director “Communauté Emmaus”  Sète (France)

Fabrice Delvaux, Environmental Education Projects (Belgium)

Pierre de Maret,, Emeritus Rector, ULB (Belgium)*

Armando De Negri, Physician, UN Human Rights Committee (Brazil)

Jonathan Félix de Souza, Teacher, Cand. PhD PUC Minas  (Brazil)

Boaventura de Sousa Santos,Prof. Univ. of Yale and Coimbra   (Portugal)*

Ulrich Duchrow,  Professor, University of Heidelberg (Germany)

J-M Ducomte, Prof. univ. Toulouse,Hon Pres “Ligue Enseignement” (France)*

Ian Dunlop, Ecologist  (Australia)*

Bernard Duterme , Director, CETRI – Centre tricontinental, (Belgium)*

Amoud Emmanuel, Peasants organisation AMT/WAFA (Camerun)

Henri Eisendrath,  Emeritus Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium)*

Yvon Englert, Rector, Free University of Brussels -ULB  (Belgium)*  

Anibal Faccendini, Dir.“Catedra del Agua”,Nat.Univ. of Rosario (Argentina)

Gianfranco Fattorini, Former Co-president of  MRAP (France)*

Adriana Fernandez, Writer (Chile)

Norma Fernandez,Communicator, World Social Forum ( Argentina)

Reinaldo Figueredo, Former Minister of the Presidency (Venezuela)

Alfio Foti, President NGO “Altra Storia” (Italy)

Laura Furcic, Writer (Venezuela)

Pierre Galand, Former Senator, Head of several NGOs Human Rights (Belgium)

Jean-Claude Garrot, Journalist (Belgium)

Enrico Garzaroli, Hotelier (Bahamas)*

Lilia Ghanem, Anthropologist, Chief Editor  “Badael” (Lebanon)

Louis Giot, Artist Peinter, ancient deported worker (Belgium)*

Philippe Giroul, Environmental Activist anti Nuclear (CND-Québec)

José Gotovitch , Honorary Professor, Free University of Brussels ULB (Belgium)*

Gwenaelle Grovonius , Member of Parliament, (Belgium)*

Habib Guiza, Secr. Gén. Conf. Générale Tunisienne du Travail, (Tunisia)*

Abdel Karim Hanbachi, Lecturer Arab Literature, Univ of Enna (Italy)

Phil Harris, Editor (Scotland)

Christiane Hessel, Human Rights Activist (France)*

Thomas Hilker, Social activist (Germany)*

Mushahid Hussain, Senator (Pakistan)*

Serge Hustache, Member of the Parliament (Belgium)*

Luis Infanti de la Mora, Catholic Bishop, Aysen, Patagonia (Chile)

Pierre Jasmin, Artist for Peace (CND-Québec)

Homeyra Jazairy, Activist Human Rights (France)

Patrick Jonniaux, Journalist (Belgium)

Habib Kazdaghli, Professor of history, University de Manouba (Tunisia)

Fatoumata Kane Ki-Zerbo, Writer (Senegal & Burkina Faso)

Branislav Kocic, Writer (Serbia)

 Nicolas Labajos, Communication Specialist, Social organisation (Chile),

La Boisselière, A socio-political Forum (L.& M.Grinceau, Ph. Veniel) (France)

David Lallemand, Communication Specialist , Children Rights (Belgium)

Gianni La Torre, Former Rector, University of Calabria (Italy)

Mady Ledant, President, NGO “ Equipes Populaires”, Nivelles (Belgium)

Danielle Lefèvre, Journalist (Belgium)*

Jim Lobe, Journalist (USA)*

Michele Loporcaro, Farmer, NGO “Acqua bene comune”(Italy)

Flavio Lotti, General Coordinator, National Tavola della Pace (Italy)

Carminda Mac Lorin, Dir.Gen NGO Katalizo, Montreal Univ (CND & Colombia)

Victoria Malvar, Philologist  (Spain)

Eliane Mandine, NGO “Médicament Bien Commun” (France)

Gustave Massiah, international Council, World Social Forum (France)*

Christine Mahy, Secr Gen, Wallonian Network against Poverty (Belgium)*

Roberto Massari ,Publisher (Italy)

Federico Mayor, Former Director General UNESCO  (Spain)

Alessandro Mazzer, Industrial manager (Spain)

Sarah Melsens,Platform on Health and Solidarity + Eur.Network. Against Privatization of Health and Social Protection (B)

Maria Grazia Meriggi, Professor, University of Bergamo (Italy)*

Jean-Louis Mignot, Honorary Ambassador (Belgium)*

Luis Moita, Univ. Prof. Permanent Peoples Tribunal, CIDAC founder (Portugal)

Monastero del Bene Comune, (Paola Libanti, Silvano Nicoletto), (Italy)

Loretta Moramarco, Lawyer, NGO “Acqua bene commune” (Italy)

Maurizo Montalto, Lawyer, Former pres. Water Public Enterprise Naples (Italy)

Anne Morelli, Honorary professor, ULB (Belgium)

Vanni Morocutti, on behalf of “Communauté La Poudrière” (Belgium)

Said Mourtada, Scientific Officer, Vulcania (France)

Simon Moutquin, Member of Parliament (Belgium)

Roberto Musacchio, former Member of European Parliament, (Italy)

Chandran Nair, Global Institute of Communication (India)*

Marinella Nasoni, Retired Trade Unonist (Italy)

Christine Pagnoulle, NGO ATTAC -Liège (Belgium)

Maria Palatine, Harpist, Singer, Composer (Germany)

Xavier Patti, Male Nurse, Medical House (Belgium)

Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Former Minister for Environment (Italy)  

Tonino Perna, Professor, Univ. of Messina (Italy)

Emma Pernia, Research Trade Union, Ispra (Italy)

Christiane Perregaux-Loup, Honorary Professor, University of Geneva (CH)*

Nicola Perrone, Press Officer “Solidarietà Internazionalel ,NGO “CIPSI” (Italy)

Riccardo Petrella, Emeritus Professor, Catholic Univ. of Louvain -UCL  (Belgium)

Christophe Pettiti, Secr.Gen.Institut droits de l’homme, Barreau Paris (France)*

Tony Phillips, Writer (Ireland)

Luc Pilmeyer, Artist,  (Belgium)

Carol Pinto-Aguero, Ass.of Chilean Specialists in Foreign Affairs (Chile)

Pietro Pizzuti, Commediographer,  Actor, Poet (Belgium)

Pressenza,  International Press Agency for Peace and Noviolence (Int.)

Jean-Yves Proulx, Activist, Citizens Democracy and Education (CND-Québec)

Gianluigi Quentin, Diplomat (Italy)*

Puthan V. Rajagopal, Founder and president of Jai Jakat 2020 (India)

Júlia Diniz Rena, Information technology, (Brazil)

Luiz Carlos C B Rena, Teacher, Social Psychology and Social Education (Brazil)

Ricardo Rias, Journalist (France)

Diego Pereira Rios, Professor, Cand. PhD, Univ. of Montevideo, (Uruguay)

Arsenio Rodriguez, Ecologist  (Puertorico)

Anne Rondelet, Comparative literature (Belgium)

Paul Sailz, Entrepreneur (France)

Marc Sapir, Retired, European Trade Union Institute (Belgium)*

Lucie Sauvé, Professor, Univ. of Québec in Montréal/UQAM (CND-Québec).

Roberto Savio, Journalist, President “OtherNews” (Italy)

Catherine Schlitz, Prés. Présence et Action Culturelles, Angleur(Belgium)

Françoise Schein, Artist, Acad. Royale Sciences, Arts et Lettres  (Belgium)

Tobia Schnebli, Parti du Travail (Switzerland)

Patrizia Sentinelli, Former Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs (Italy)

Danny Singoma,  Dir.Gen. NGO CENADEP, (D.R. of Congo)*

Oliviero Sorbini, Ecologist (Italy)

Daniel Sotiaux , Président Fondation Henri La Fontaine (Belgium)*

Nestor Streel, Université du 3ème Âge, Jupille (Belgium)

Sarah Suzan, Physiotherapist (Brazil)

Bernard Tirtiaux, Artist,  Writer (Belgium)

Gianni Tognoni, Physician, Secr Gen Permanent People’s Tribunal (Italy)*

Eric Toussaint,Dr Political Science, Universities of Liège and Paris VIII (Belgium)*  

Hélène Tremblay , Writer, Researcher, Photographer  (CND-Québec)

Mokhtar Trifi .Former President TLHR, V.President OMCT (Tunisia)*

Olivier Turquet, Journalist, Teacher (Italy)

Ryz Tyb,  Media’s activist (South Africa)*

Università della Terza Eta, (G.Petrella Tirone, Lia Roberto, teachers) (Italy

Université du Bien Commun (C.Bertelli, C.Dehove,C.Ducrey,JP.Derumier,G.Yovan) (France)

Felipe Van Keirsbilck, Secr. Gen. Conf. Nat. de l’Emploi (Belgium)

Antonio Vergara, Journalist  (Italy)

Rodrigo Vergara, Entrepreneur (Chile)*

José Vermandere, Trade Unionist (Belgium)

Marco Vianello-Chiodo,Diplomat (Italy)

Moema Viezzer, Sociologist  (Brazil) 

Emanuele Villa, Director, NGO “Scuola Politica” (Italy)

Mariangela Villa , President NGO “Costituzione Beni Comuni” (Italy)* 

Arlindo Villaschi, Economist  (Brazil)

Karine Watelet, Journalist (Belgium)

Jean-Pierre Wauquier, Physician, president NGO “H²O” (France)

Genevieve Young, Author (Canada)

Peter Zangl, Directors Board, OMCT Europe (Germany)*

Jean Ziegler, Emeritus Professor, UN Council on Human Rights (Switzerland)*

Photo: Pixabay, CC0

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