New York (IANS) US President Joe Biden has announced a pledge of $2 billion for COVAX, the World Health Organization-backed initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to vaccines around the world, urging others to step up as well.
Biden, according to a press release issued by the US Department of State, said: "I'm announcing that the United States is making a $2 billion pledge to COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access), with the promise of an additional $2 billion to urge others to step up as well."
The US President on Friday interacted with G7 leaders the 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference. During the meeting, he said: "My first presidential national security memorandum focused on surging health and humanitarian responses to defeat Covid-19 and to better prevent and prepare for the next pandemic."
"The Transatlantic Alliance is the strong foundation on which our collective security and our shared prosperity are built. The partnership between Europe and the United States...must remain the cornerstone of all that we hope to accomplish in the 21st century," he further said.
Speaking on the NATO Alliance, Biden said, "The United States will work closely with our European Union partners and the capitals across the continent -- from Rome to Riga -- to meet the range of shared challenges we face. We continue to support the goal of a Europe whole and free and at peace."
Biden also urged the US' European allies to double up on commitments to fight climate change, warning of a "global existential crisis".
"We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change," Biden said, just hours after Washington formally returned to the Paris Accord.
Biden said that the Covid-19 pandemic was an example of an issue that required global cooperation, calling for the reform of the World Health Organization and the building of a UN system that focuses on biological threats and can initiate swift action.