Human communication

Cooperation, COVID-19 and Connections: Day 1 at The Davos Agenda

  • The first day of the Davos Agenda heard from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations.
  • COVID-19, inequality and the role of technology were all among the key topics.
  • Global collaboration was at the center of many discussions, as were the next steps in the pandemic and the importance of vaccines.

On the first day of Davos Agenda 2022, we heard from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations.

We also had sessions on what is likely to happen next in the COVID-19 pandemic and on technology – in particular the need for better access and the role it has played in the pandemic.

If you haven’t managed to catch it all, here are three things you might want to pack.

International cooperation has played a key role in the fight against COVID-19

So far, international cooperation has played an important role in the fight against the pandemic, President Xi Jinping told The Davos Agenda.

“The international community has fought a tenacious battle,” he said.

Countries must continue to work together, President Xi said. Closing the global immunization gap is one of them.

This global effort to immunize the world against COVID-19 was reignited this weekend, with news that COVAX – the Vaccine Sharing Facility – has now delivered one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Richard Hatchet, CEO of CEPI, which co-leads COVAX, alongside Gavi and the World Health Organization, said the support will be essential to help countries roll out mass vaccination programs and deliver vaccines quickly. .

Further collaboration will remain vital, both for the equity of vaccines, but also for their ongoing development. Antoine Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, explained the ongoing efforts to find commonalities between the variants. “It’s a very, very important scientific goal,” he explained.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed, however, that multilateral organizations must be able to meet today’s challenges.

But, more work is needed – whether in response to the pandemic or more broadly. Antonio Guterres said in his special address that there had been a “global failure to support developing countries in times of need”.

And he called for reform of the global financial system to ensure it works for all countries without being biased.

What 2022 could bring to the pandemic

However, challenges remain in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annelies Wilder-Smith, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stressed that Omicron will not be the last variant. The questions are – where, when and will it be more or less dangerous, she explains.

There are lessons to be learned from the history of infectious diseases, added Anthony Fauci. We have only eradicated one infectious disease – smallpox – and that will not happen with this virus, he says.

We must anticipate that COVID will begin to behave more like the flu – and has the unpredictable potential to become a pandemic at any time. Richard Hatchet added.

What about vaccines? CEO of Moderna Stephane Bancel explained the work being done to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are effective against new variants.

Manufacturers are now working on COVID-19 vaccines for the northern hemisphere fall, he said. And Moderna hopes to offer, in the future, a booster for both influenza and COVID-19 in a single dose.

We must ensure an equal recovery

The next steps in the pandemic involve confronting it with fairness and justice, Antonio Guterres noted. Vaccine inequality remains too high, he stressed.

And, if you leave someone behind, in the end, you leave everyone behind, he said.

The global development process is suffering severe disruption, with the human development index falling for the first time in 30 years, the president says Xi Jinping Explain.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the inequalities that exist in access to technology – but also why it is so important.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be the key to addressing the world’s greatest challenges, explained Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises. Coverage is an issue, but affordability is also a major challenge, he said.

It’s not a “nice to have” to be connected, it’s a human right, Hans Vestberg, said the chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications.

That’s why the EDISON Alliance launched the 1 Billion Lives Challenge last year, he explained.

Governments around the world, including that of Rwanda, are grappling with common challenges of access and affordability, said Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Ministry of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation of Rwanda.

And it’s on the agenda in India too, with huge work underway to improve access, PM explained Narendra Modi.