ACT Alliance joins religious leaders in call for global health equity as nations gather to finalize Pandemic Agreement


ACT Alliance is one of over 100 religious leaders and faith-based organizations globally calling on leaders of the World Health Organization to secure equity commitments to protect all populations everywhere from future pandemics. The letter was delivered on the opening day of the intended final nine-day negotiating session in Geneva for the Pandemic Accord, a new international agreement of UN member states to bolster pandemic prevention, preparedness and response efforts.

“The sanctity of human life often seemed forgotten in the pandemic, with the lives of people in wealthy nations appearing to be valued over those in low- or middle-income countries,” states the letter. “As you enter the final stage of negotiations, we implore you to deliver an agreement that ensures every life is valued equally.”

Millions of people lost their lives during the COVID-19 emergency due to late and inequitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines. The letter urges negotiators to reach an agreement that ensures that everyone, everywhere can benefit from scientific advancement and that the tools needed to fight the next pandemic are shared equally, including necessary knowledge and technology.

It also urges negotiators to ensure that intellectual property barriers are removed when necessary, and that people in the Global South are “treated not as mere samples for pandemic monitoring, but as equal partners in a collective endeavour towards a healthier world.” Over the course of the pandemic, despite the sharing of genetic information that enabled production of effective vaccines, these products were not accessible to many. The proposed pathogen access and benefit sharing (PABS) mechanism in the agreement aims to remedy this by ensuring that sharing of pathogen data also enables equitable access to resulting medical tools.

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, general secretary of ACT Alliance said, “We stand at a critical moment where the conscience of humanity must guide our actions. The inequities uncovered by the pandemic demand a response rooted in compassion and justice. As nations convene to shape the future of global health, let us not forget that every life is precious and deserving of equal protection. The Pandemic Accord must be a testament to our commitment to valuing every individual, regardless of their geography or socioeconomic status. We urge negotiators to seize this opportunity to ensure that the lessons learned from COVID-19 pave the way for a world where health equity is not just an aspiration, but a reality for all.”

Letter signatory Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said, “As the world prepares for future pandemics, it is essential that it plans to give equal protection to all people, everywhere, not only for moral reasons but to protect one another. COVID-19 showed us that none of us are safe until all of us are safe, and that only a comprehensive response that covers the world can bring pandemics under control.”

The letter was organized by Public Citizen, in collaboration with the ACT Alliance, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The final text of the Accord is slated for presentation to the World Health Assembly in May.


ACT statement on the attack on HEKS colleagues in Ukraine

ACT Alliance and the ACT Ukraine Forum were shocked and saddened to learn today of the deaths of two aid workers from our member HEKS/EPER, and the injury of four other HEKS/EPER employees yesterday in the southeast of Ukraine.

The aid workers were conducting a field assessment when they were attacked at about 2:30pm.

ACT Alliance offers its condolences and prayers to the friends and families of the colleagues killed, and to all the staff of HEKS, as well as all ACT members working in Ukraine in light of this devastating news.

HEKS is working to ensure the safe evacuation of the affected staff, and are providing support to all the staff involved, and their families.

ACT Alliance joins with HEKS in strongly condemning this unjustifiable attack, which is a serious violation of international humanitarian law.  Humanitarian workers and civilian populations must never be targets in conflict.

Read more on the HEKS website.

ACT Palestine Forum statement on the violence in the Gaza Strip

The ACT Palestine Forum has issued the following statement regarding the escalating violence on the Gaza Strip. The statement can be downloaded here.

We at the ACT Palestine Forum feel deeply concerned and distressed after a day full of escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and its surrounding area. The resulting potential for major escalation throughout all of Palestine and Israel is extremely likely. The ACT Palestine Forum extends its heartfelt empathy and concern to all affected innocent civilians and their families, and we lift them up in prayer during these challenging and uncertain times.

The current situation demands our critical attention. As a local forum deeply committed to promoting the rights and well-being of the Palestinian people, we recognize the urgent need to respond efficiently and effectively to the crisis in Gaza. We have been in close coordination and communication with ACT Secretariat and with our dedicated colleagues on the ground in Gaza to assess the immediate needs and ensure that our response is timely and impactful.

Assessing the immediate needs on the ground is an exceptional challenge due to the current situation. We are currently collecting data that will inform our plans as a forum and as ACT Alliance to provide critical needed assistance to those affected by the war.

Our response efforts will encompass a wide array of vital humanitarian interventions including delivering crucial psychological support to individuals wrestling with the emotional aftermath of the warfare.

We wish to emphasize the protracted nature of the Gaza Strip’s enduring blockade, which has persisted since 2007, resulting in countless violations upon the basic rights of its population. In response to these distressing circumstances, we not only demand an immediate cessation of this blockade but also strongly advocate for the establishment of a fair and enduring peace that will secure the restoration of these essential rights to all people.

Furthermore, as members of the ACT Palestine Forum, we are in strong agreement in denouncing the violation of sacred sites, especially Al Aqsa Mosque and ongoing harassment faced by Christian sites and pilgrims. We acknowledge the significance of safeguarding and upholding the sanctity of these locations. Additionally, we sincerely appeal to the international community to stand with us in our endeavors to address the root causes of the conflict and uphold the principles of international humanitarian law.

As members of the ACT Palestine Forum, we strongly call for an immediate and peaceful resolution to this conflict. Our unconditional commitment is to ensure the well-being and fundamental rights of all individuals involved.