Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, on Tuesday, met with the UN and key international partners at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response, as well as with experienced partners on the front lines of humanitarian crises, including in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Sajjan met with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, and with humanitarian civil society organizations, to discuss the major humanitarian crises unfolding in Ukraine and Afghanistan, and to determine how Canada can best continue to support their efforts.
Canada’s humanitarian support in Ukraine includes emergency health services, protection, support to displaced populations, and essential life-saving services such as shelter, water and sanitation, and food. In Afghanistan, Canada is contributing to the provision of life-saving assistance, such as emergency food and nutrition services, and to protection and logistics services for the dispatch of humanitarian goods, according to a press release.
During a roundtable discussion with Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partners, including Dr. Bill Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), and Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, the Minister highlighted the importance that Canada places on addressing delivery and distribution challenges related to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as on strengthening health systems for now and into the future. He also underscored Canada’s commitment to end the pandemic through its support to all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator. Canada’s recent contributions to ACT-Accelerator partners, including the WHO, Gavi, the Global Fund, Unitaid and FIND, totals $130.4 million.
At a meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) Deputy Director, Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the discussion centered on the humanitarian and health impacts of the conflict in Ukraine, including its disproportionate impact on women and children, and the WHO’s work in Ukraine to address the current humanitarian situation. Canada is contributing to the WHO’s overall health response in Ukraine, which is focused on saving lives, ensuring access to basic health services for those affected by the armed conflict, COVID-19, polio, and other health threats.