King Abdullah of Jordan said protecting refugees is a global responsibility during the pandemic and called for Covid-19 vaccines to be circulated equitably to include the world’s poorest countries.
He told the World Economic Forum’s Davos 2021 that the new year began with many of the same challenges that marked 2020 as the virus continues to “ravage our world”. King Abdullah said “we have barely scratched the surface of its long-term humanitarian and economic implications”.
But he said there was a glimmer of hope because of the development of vaccines, as he urged the global community to work together.
“We must ensure the efficient and equitable distribution of Covid vaccines as well as treatments. It is a moral duty to treat the vaccine as a global public good that ensures that low income and poor countries are not left at the end of the waiting line as high income countries buy the majority of the most promising vaccines,” said King Abdullah, who has already been vaccinated.
“Amid these challenging times, safeguarding the health and well-being of refugees remains a global responsibility.”
Jordan began inoculating refugees this month. Nearly 2,000 people in the country's refugee camps have tested positive for Covid-19 since last September.
He said as host of “the second highest number of refugees per capita globally, Jordan continues to protect refugees in its pandemic response, and we are among the first countries in the world to start vaccinating refugees for free”.
"But international support is also essential. We must collectively work to develop new policy tools to help us address the problems of today and tomorrow," King Abdullah said.
Jordan has recorded more than 323,000 cases of Covid-19 and at least 4,262 deaths.
King Abdullah drew attention to global warming as he called for a recovery that prioritises green energy and renewable investments.
He also said it was crucial that the global digital divide be reduced so that labour forces could be prepared for the “jobs of tomorrow”.