0612 GMT September 23, 2020
The measure, which has been negotiated since May, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 169 countries out of 193, with Ukraine and Hungary abstaining, AFP reported.
The text, called an omnibus resolution because it covers multiple aspects of the pandemic, "acknowledges the key leadership role of WHO and the fundamental role of the United Nations system in catalyzing and coordinating the comprehensive global response to the COVID-19 pandemic".
The US withdrew from the WHO this spring, accusing the body of mismanaging the coronavirus pandemic and delaying launch of a global alert.
The text "calls for intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences".
And it supports UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call in March for a cease-fire between countries in order to better facilitate the fight against the pandemic – a request that has been little followed.
The text additionally calls for "the urgent removal of unjustified obstacles", meaning sanctions, in order to create better access to products used in combating the virus.
It requests nations to maintain food and agricultural supply chains and encourages syncing economic recovery strategies to promote sustainable development and combat climate change, AP reported.
The resolution, which is not legally binding, is the third and most extensive adopted by the General Assembly. A resolution adopted April 2 recognized “the unprecedented effects” of the pandemic and called for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the new coronavirus. A Mexico-sponsored resolution approved April 20 urged global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing and access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment to confront the pandemic.
In Friday’s resolution urges UN member states “to enable all countries to have unhindered timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines … as well as equipment for the COVID-19 response.”
And it recognizes “the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good for health in preventing, containing and stopping transmission in order to bring the pandemic to an end, once safe, quality, efficacious, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines are available.”