The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge that requires unprecedented global cooperation. The United Arab Emirates’ response to the pandemic, both at home and around the world, has been guided by its founding principle that we are stronger united than apart.
The supply of vaccines is increasing, but the international community is lagging significantly behind the World Health Organization’s goal of 70 percent vaccination by mid-2022. This year represents a critical window of opportunity.
The UAE has provided pandemic support both to the United Nations and to countries around the world.
The UAE contributes vaccines to COVAX, the global facility to improve vaccine equity, and has provided test kits to WHO. The UAE also partnered with the World Food Programme to launch an international air bridge operation that used Emirati aircraft to deliver essential health and humanitarian supplies across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Dubai International Humanitarian City—one of the world’s largest humanitarian hubs—plays a key role in the world’s response to the pandemic due to UAE support and its ability to operate uninterrupted. DIHC processed more than 80 percent of the personal protective equipment distributed under the WHO-led global response during the pandemic’s first phase.
The UAE has additionally provided more than 1,742 tonnes of aid to 128 countries to assist 1.7 million medical workers responding to COVID-19 since February 2021.
The UAE’s private sector has also been highly active in the global response to the pandemic.
The Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance was launched to support COVAX’s vaccine distribution efforts through the global network and infrastructure of Emirates Airline, DP World, Dubai Airports, and DIHC. Emirates SkyCargo has transported more than 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 80 destinations as of December 2021, with an emphasis on markets that face logistical challenges transporting pharmaceuticals.
DP World, one of the largest logistics companies on Earth, and UNICEF subsequently launched a precedent-setting public-private partnership to support the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and related immunization supplies in lower-income countries using DP World’s networks of ports, trucks, and other facilities.
The HOPE Consortium was also launched in Abu Dhabi. The Consortium utilizes the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Ports, and Etihad Airways to improve the supply chain needed to distribute vaccines.
“The UAE is conscious that the COVID-19 pandemic represents more than a public health emergency and is well aware of the significant and unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which can only be overcome through shared determination and global cooperation…We also understand the critical importance of protecting the human rights of all people in the UAE, irrespective of citizenship or status. Accordingly, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals principle of ‘leave no one behind,’ the UAE Government has adopted a multifaceted response to the COVID-19 pandemic, grounded in the principles of public trust, transparency, and the provision of testing and treatment for all.”His Highness Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
At the Security Council
The UAE and UK have partnered during their March and April 2022 presidencies of the Security Council to raise the profile of vaccine inequity in conflict zones. Resolution 2565 in 2020 called for increased global cooperation to better distribute vaccines for COVID-19. The UAE and UK are highlighting vaccine rates and barriers during each Council briefing and will hold a ministerial-level event in April on the implementation of Resolution 2565.
H.E. Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, spoke at the UN Security Council and shed light on the importance of equitable access to vaccines in conflict & humanitarian crises and the need to accelerate collective commitment to global vaccination.
At home, the UAE slowed the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a multi-pronged approach to identify cases early, conduct widespread testing and contact tracing, prioritize assistance for vulnerable segments of the population, and invest in innovation. The UAE made testing and vaccination free for all citizens, residents, and visitors.
The UAE has also instituted gender-sensitive policies during the pandemic, including remote work programs for pregnant women and mothers with young children and increased social services.
The UAE continues to top Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking, which sorts 53 economies by vaccine doses administered, lockdown severity, and other metrics.