The Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ms. Henrietta Fore, has hailed Liberia as a model for negotiating the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines through the COVID-19 Global Access (COVAX) facility.
The COVAX facility is a global initiative for the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, with the goal of ensuring that every country, even the poorest, has equitable access to the vaccines. Executive Director Fore highlighted that the Government of Liberia showed great leadership in setting up and finishing negotiations and paperwork for the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as training and communication for the vaccination process.
Ms. Fore emphasized that it was extremely important for Governments to show leadership in the process and encouraged other countries to support UNICEF and other leaders of the COVAX facility to ensure that every country has access to the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
The UNICEF Boss made the commendation on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at the opening of the Second Regular Session of the UNICEF Executive Board, which convened virtually to review UNICEF’s activities and approve its policies, country programs, and budgets. Addressing the Session earlier, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations and Chargé d’Affaires, Ms. Cecilia Forgbe Wreh-McGill, applauded UNICEF’s leadership role in the COVAX facility and thanked all donors to the facility.
Said Ms. McGill: “ We applaud UNICEF’s leadership role in the COVAX facility, bringing much-needed relief during this pandemic. Just last month, Liberia received the third batch of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, we’ve received nearly five hundred thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccines. We are grateful to the Government of the United States, France, the European Union, and other donors to the COVAX facility. We also applaud the welcoming news that the Pfizer vaccine is suitable for use by children age 12 and older.”
Ms. McGill expressed concern about the physical and psychological impact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on children, especially the recent surge in infection rates, and urged all UN Member States and UNICEF to work collaboratively to protect children’s rights and ensure their well-being.
She informed the UNICEF Executive Board that the Government of Liberia, under the astute leadership of His Excellency President Weah, continues to implement laws, policies, and programs that protect the rights and welfare of children across Liberia; including safe conduct of in-person learning for the just-ended school year.
Ms. McGill further informed the Executive Board that in partnership with UNICEF, the Government of Liberia continues to implement interventions in improving child, maternal and neonatal services, combating malnutrition, promoting WASH services, basic education, and child protection.
Deputy Permanent Representative McGill concluded by reaffirming Liberia’s commitment and support to the mandate and work of UNICEF and its new Strategic Plan 2022-2025, to ensure an inclusive recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the realization of a society where every child’s rights and well-being can be fulfilled. “We applaud UNICEF for the consultative and transparent process towards the development of its new Strategic Plan 2022-2025, a plan that seeks to strengthen the programs and systems related to the survival, and health of children, including immunization, nutrition, and early childhood development, all of which are critical for Liberia.” Ms. McGill emphasized.
The Second Regular Session of the UNICEF Executive Board commenced on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, and will conclude on Friday, September 10, 2021.
The Executive Board is the governing body of UNICEF, providing intergovernmental support and oversight to the organization, in accordance with the overall policy guidance of the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Liberia is one of thirty-six (36) members of the UNICEF Executive Board.