A Look At Day One Of World Immunisation And Logistics Summit

by Business Watch Team

The HOPE Consortium’s World Immunisation & Logistics Summit was opened today by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with a call to enhance collaboration in the world’s approach to tackle COVID-19 and ensure a healthier future for all.

The two-day virtual Summit, hosted in by Abu Dhabi, kicked off today under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the participation of acclaimed global healthcare and philanthropic leaders, decision makers, experts and senior government officials, to explore a unified global approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his inaugural address, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah said, “Our destiny as nations is linked, as global health security depends on the well-being of all societies.”

Describing the Hope Consortium as a historic announcement that has added to the UAE’s efforts to combat the pandemic globally, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah said that the UAE, being a leading global logistics hub, has played a major role in supplying many countries with the resources they need to overcome the pandemic.

“We are moving quickly, utilising our infrastructure and logistics capabilities and the geographic proximity with Africa, Asia and Europe, to offer medical and food aid to many countries. Our HOPE Consortium has gathered its expertise to secure more vaccines for the world. The faster we can vaccinate populations, while ensuring equitable and fair access to vaccines in a cost effective manner, the faster we can overcome the virus and begin to recover globally. The UAE will continue to work with partners and play a leading role to accelerate the pace of recovery from this crisis.”

The opening ceremony also featured a welcome address from H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. Highlighting the importance of building partnerships to mobilise global resources in the fight against COVID-19, he said: “The Summit represents a critical moment for the global community to come together and develop new scalable solutions in our collective battle against the pandemic. Now is the time to build a broad network of world-class partners to safely deliver vaccines for the region and beyond. As the HOPE Consortium continues to expand its network of partners, we will also continue to advocate for the sharing of knowledge and capabilities.”

The opening session also featured keynote addresses by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), on ‘Coordinating a global response to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the pandemic’; by Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF on ‘Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines’; and an address by Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation titled ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe: Uniting to vaccinate the world.’ 

Speaking about the importance of the Summit, Dr. Tedros said: “Vaccines are giving us hope of bringing the pandemic under control. But we can only do that if we use vaccines strategically to suppress transmission everywhere at the same time. The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries, and the number of vaccines administered through Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) is growing every single day. WHO applauds the efforts of the Hope Consortium initiative led by the Government of the UAE. We look forward to working with you to frame a partnership in support of the Covax facility.”

The first panel discussion titled ‘Cooperation and Collaboration: The collective human effort to save lives and support global economic recovery’ brought together a cross-section of industry thought-leaders, that included: H.E. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, H.E. Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), Prof. José Manuel Barroso, Board Chair at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). They each shared their perspectives on how the world has come together to respond to the key challenges of the pandemic through global partnerships, and shed light on their corresponding actions and learnings.

H.E. Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi said: “In the midst of a pandemic and as countries mobilise to cope with new waves, Abu Dhabi Ports and HOPE Consortium are ready to shoulder the support for the region, and the entire world. Together with our partners, we are developing the capacity to safely deliver 18 billion vaccine doses anywhere in the world. Along the way, we welcome new partners to join our efforts and our global goal, to turn the tide and stop the spread.” 

 ‘COVID-19 Vaccines Pharma and Manufacturers’ panel focused on the global pharmaceutical research community’s historic achievement in developing vaccines in record time to save and protect lives. The audience heard from notable speakers including Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist, and Stanley C. Erck, President and CEO of Novavax.

In the panel discussion on Abu Dhabi’s collaborative role in the fight against Covid-19, H.E. Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary, Abu Dhabi Department of Health, underlined Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. He said: “The world is facing a global health crisis unlike anything our generation has ever seen before. Abu Dhabi is now at the forefront in distributing the world’s vaccines through its partnerships and logistic solutions.”

Additional panelists in this session included Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chairman of the HOPE Consortium Executive Committee and Group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports; Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare; Tony Douglas, Group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, and Abdulla Al Shamsi, Director of New Initiatives, UAE Clusters Unit, UAE Investments, at Mubadala Investment Company.

Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi said: “The infrastructure, technology, and capabilities of Abu Dhabi Ports and our partners are key to making our collective mission a success. Since the start of the pandemic, Abu Dhabi Ports has risen quickly to the challenge and has built its logistics capabilities in a short time to the world class level it is at today – from our cold and ultra-cold storage centres to our specialised fleet of logistics vehicles enabling us to distribute large volumes of vaccines safely, transparently and effectively.” 

A session themed ‘On the Road: From Production to those in need began with a panel discussion on ‘Ensuring Supply Chain Integrity’, that looked at the fundamental role of technology in maintaining vaccine integrity through all stages of the supply chain.

The session also highlighted the next phase of the global pandemic response, which includes delivering vaccines globally and how this challenge can be addressed through effective transportation and technology, including data-enabled supply chains and blockchain solutions.

Panelists leading the discussion included Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri, CEO of Maqta Gateway; Richard Ettl, co-founder and CEO of SkyCell; Jack Muhs, Regional President, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa at FedEx Express; and Robert Sutton, Head of Logistics Cluster at Abu Dhabi Ports.

The first day of the summit concluded with a panel session on ‘Mobilising global supply chains through integrated logistics solutions’. This session brought together a range of global experts including Robert Coyle, SVP, Pharma and Healthcare Vertical at Kuehne + Nagel; Martin Drew, SVP Sales and Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group; Thomas Kipp, COO of Aramex; Jean-Cedric Meeus, Chief of Transport at UNICEF; Tarek Sultan, CEO and Vice Chair of Agility; and Wesley P. Wheeler, President of UPS Healthcare, to discuss pressing challenges such as overcoming cold chain challenges, ensuring vaccine integrity during transport and overcoming network shortages.

A fully interactive, virtual 3D exhibition and networking zone took place alongside the Summit offering attendees the opportunity to meet and network with key local and international stakeholders. The recently released agenda provides a preview of the topics and delegates and can be viewed here. To register and secure your slot at the virtual Summit, please click here.

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