Clear expectations for Norway's new leadership role

Norway, together with South Africa, has been given a leading role in Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a promising global collaboration to accelerate development, production and fair access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. - Norway's task is to raise collective answers to the pandemic that are fair, and do not reinforce the growing inequality in the world, say some of Norway's leading emergency aid and development organizations.


Norwegian Church Aid, Save the Children, Red Cross, Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian People’s Aid and Doctors without Borders have clear expectations for Norway's new leadership role in the fight against the pandemic: 

-Such leadership is a recognition of the role Norway has played in the field of vaccines, and in global health in general, for several years. It places a great responsibility on Norway to also show leadership by taking the lead and as soon as possible fulfilling stated intentions for full Norwegian participation in the Covax collaboration. Much remains to be done before a solidarity-based distribution of vaccines is in place, the organizations say. 

Many of the world's international health organizations have joined forces with this collaboration to create a powerful global solution that will ensure fairness in the access and distribution of tests, vaccines, and treatments worldwide. 

-This is a demanding task. Strong national and commercial interests are emerging, threatening to undermine global cooperation. Norway's task is to raise collective answers to the pandemic, which is one of the biggest crises the world has ever faced. To ensure a solidary distribution of vaccines and health care, openness and participation from the population is needed in all countries, the organizations say. 

The organizations are expecting: 

  • That Norway contributes to a set of criteria for prioritization and fair distribution that ensures that the groups of population that are most vulnerable are securedregardless of where they live. This applies to testing, treatment, and vaccines. 
  • That Norway takes the lead to ensure that states - when they have vaccinated health personnel and the vulnerable part of their own population - undertake to deliver additional vaccines to the same target groups in states that have not had the same access. 
  • That Norway contributes to ensuring transparency in all processes, in all parts of ACT-A. 
  • That the strategy is based on the active participation of civil society both in the humanitarian efforts and in holding the authorities accountable for compliance with adopted rules. 
  • That everyone who is at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, such as health personnel and humanitarian aid workers, is guaranteed vaccination. 
  • That the efforts against COVID-19 contribute to building health systems in the countries and thus increase capacity and resilience in the longer term. 
  • That the authorities, through the agreements entered on vaccine production, ensure that the production of other vital vaccines, e.g. to children, are still prioritized. 
  • That Norway addresses the lack of concrete strategies for knowledge and technology sharing. 
  • That Norway, considering the dramatically increasing humanitarian needs caused by the pandemic, maintains high ambitions when it comes to emergency aid and long-term assistance. 

Photo: Secretary General of Norwegian Church Aid, Dagfinn Høybråten together with Development Minister Dag Inge Ulstein in the village of Bushumba outside Bukavu in Congo (DRC).
Photo: Håvard Bjelland / Norwegian Church Aid.