U.S. Vote Against the United Nations 2021 Program Budget

31 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the United States called for a vote in the UN General Assembly to register strong objections to certain elements of the UN’s annual Program Budget. In particular, it is outrageous that the UN will fund in 2021 an event to promote the objectives of the Durban Declaration – a document saturated with anti-Semitism, anti-Israel bias, and hostility toward freedom of expression. Over the last 20 years, the United States has consistently opposed the corrosive Durban process. We call on all UN member states to seek new means to address constructively and inclusively the challenge of racism and racial discrimination. The United Nations should never serve as a platform for those determined to divide and diminish, but sadly that is all too often the case. For our part, we will continue to hold the United Nations to a higher standard.

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Aryeh Lightstone Designated as U.S. Special Envoy for Economic Normalization

31 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

I am pleased to announce that I have designated Aryeh Lightstone to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy for Economic Normalization. As special envoy, Aryeh Lightstone will represent U.S. interests in normalizing economic relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo, and Morocco. Designating Mr. Lightstone as Special Envoy will contribute to the speed and the efficiency of the normalization process and create momentum for the Abraham Accords. I am confident other countries will be encouraged to join and solidify the Accords against the outside factors that seek to undermine them.

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Haiti’s Independence Day

31 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I send greetings to the people of Haiti as you celebrate the 217th anniversary of Haiti’s independence.

Haiti’s long history as a nation demonstrates the resolve of the Haitian people in overcoming adversity in the hope of a brighter future.  On Haiti’s Independence Day, we recognize the indomitable spirit that is the strength of the Haitian people, and we stand with them in the face of political, security, and economic challenges.

The United States has continued to invest in the future of Haiti’s citizens through humanitarian, education, and health partnerships, rooted in our shared democratic values.  I hope that in 2021, all sectors of Haitian society will work together to strengthen democratic institutions, protect human rights, fight corruption, and promote economic growth to achieve a stable, prosperous, and self-reliant Haiti.

I extend best wishes for health, peace, and prosperity to the people of Haiti.  Happy Independence Day and Happy New Year.

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WHO issues its first emergency use validation for a COVID-19 vaccine and emphasizes need for equitable global access

31 Dec

The World Health Organization (WHO) today listed the Comirnaty COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for emergency use, making the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the first to receive emergency validation from WHO since the outbreak began a year ago.

The WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine. It also enables UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization to procure the vaccine for distribution to countries in need.

“This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines. But I want to emphasize the need for an even greater global effort to achieve enough vaccine supply to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere,” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products. “WHO and our partners are working night and day to evaluate other vaccines that have reached safety and efficacy standards. We encourage even more developers to come forward for review and assessment. It’s vitally important that we secure the critical supply needed to serve all countries around the world and stem the pandemic.” 

Regulatory experts convened by WHO from around the world and WHO’s own teams reviewed the data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine’s safety, efficacy and quality as part of a risk-versus-benefit analysis. The review found that the vaccine met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO, and that the benefits of using the vaccine to address COVID-19 offset potential risks.

The vaccine is also under policy review.  WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) will convene on 5 January, 2021, to formulate vaccine specific policies and recommendations for this product’s use in populations, drawing from the SAGE population prioritization recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines in general, issued in September 2020.

The Comirnaty vaccine requires storage using an ultra-cold chain; it needs to be stored at -60°C to -90°C degrees. This requirement makes the vaccine more challenging to deploy in settings where ultra-cold chain equipment may not be available or reliably accessible. For that reason, WHO is working to support countries in assessing their delivery plans and preparing for use where possible.

How the emergency use listing works

The emergency use listing (EUL) procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency as well as the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks.

The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late phase II and phase III clinical trial data as well as substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality and a risk management plan. These data are reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence on the vaccine under consideration, the plans for monitoring its use, and plans for further studies.

Experts from individual national authorities are invited to participate in the EUL review. Once a vaccine has been listed for WHO emergency use, WHO engages its regional regulatory networks and partners to inform national health authorities on the vaccine and its anticipated benefits based on data from clinical studies to date.

In addition to the global, regional, and country regulatory procedures for emergency use, each country undertakes a policy process to decide whether and in whom to use the vaccine, with prioritization specified for the earliest use.  Countries also undertake a vaccine readiness assessment which informs the vaccine deployment and introduction plan for the implementation of the vaccine under the EUL.

As part of the EUL process, the company producing the vaccine must commit to continue to generate data to enable full licensure and WHO prequalification of the vaccine. The WHO prequalification process will assess additional clinical data generated from vaccine trials and deployment on a rolling basis to ensure the vaccine meets the necessary standards of quality, safety and efficacy for broader availability.

More information: 

 

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Under Secretary Krach Announces Winners of the 2020 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence

31 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach presented three American companies with the Secretary’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in a video announcement, released today.  The 2020 awards were given in three categories:  Innovation, Sustainable Energy Security, and Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Abbott was honored in the Innovation category for its creation of new strategies to expand preventative health care in underserved rural areas of Rwanda.  Abbott has focused on capacity building to help strengthen Rwanda’s health care services so Rwandans have the systems and support to manage their healthcare sector over the long term.

AES Panama was recognized for Sustainable Energy Security for its work creating the first natural gas fire powered plant and reception terminal in Central America, designed to meet growing energy demands using a cleaner, resilient supply.  AES has spared over 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions since 2018, compared to generation through traditional fossil fuels.

Coca-Cola Azerbaijan received the award for Women’s Economic Empowerment for providing business training for rural women entrepreneurs, advancing women-led businesses in the tourism sector, and promoting entrepreneurship among young women.  Coca-Cola Azerbaijan’s near-even 50/50 split among male and female employees in the workforce – including in leadership positions – reflects the importance the company places on diversity and inclusion.  Coca-Cola considers comparatively higher representation of women in leadership roles as one of the factors driving its consistently strong business performance.

The Secretary of State’s annual Award for Corporate Excellence recognizes and honors U.S. companies that uphold high standards as responsible members of their communities.  Established in 1999, the award seeks to highlight ways in which U.S. companies represent American values in the way they do business, in line with international best practices such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The U.S. Department of State is committed to working with companies to further responsible business practices worldwide and to recognize their efforts to improve lives at home and abroad.

For further information, please follow @EconAtState on Twitter or visit http://www.state.gov/ace.

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On the Fate of the “Hong Kong 12”

31 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Hong Kong was a thriving territory until the Chinese Communist Party and its local lackeys destroyed its rule of law and eviscerated the Hong Kong people’s freedoms. The “Hong Kong 12” who tried to flee this tyranny deserved a hero’s welcome abroad, not capture, a secret trial, and prison sentences. The United States strongly condemns the Shenzhen court’s actions and calls for the ten members of the group who were sentenced to jail terms to be immediately and unconditionally released.

The CCP’s persecution of the Hong Kong 12 – two of whom were juveniles at the time of their arrest – exposes once again Beijing’s brutality, blatant disregard for the international treaties it has signed, and its disdain for the rights of the Hong Kong people. A regime that prevents its own people from leaving can lay no claim to greatness or global leadership. It is simply a fragile dictatorship, afraid of its own people.

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Attacks on Yemeni Officials in Aden

31 Dec

Cale Brown, Principal Deputy Spokesperson

The United States strongly condemns the December 30 attacks in Aden that killed civilians and wounded many others.  We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and express our sympathies to the families of those killed.  The attacks were timed with the arrival of new Yemeni government officials and once again demonstrate the malicious intent of those trying to destabilize Yemen.  Such attacks will not stop or undermine efforts to bring a lasting peace that the Yemeni people deserve.  These violent acts must end, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.  The United States supports the legitimate government of Yemen and stands with the people of Yemen as they work towards a better future for all Yemenis.

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Statement Issued by Chairperson of African Union Commission, United Nations Secretary-General

31 Dec

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, refer to the decisions respectively made by the African Union Peace and Security Council in communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (CMLXVIII) of 30 November and the United Nations Security Council in resolution 2559 (2020) of 22 December, to terminate the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).