COVID-19: Carl Bildt appointed WHO special envoy for ACT-Accelerator

Carl Bildt, the new WHO special envoy for ACT-Accelerator, has an extensive experience as a career diplomat

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 01 April 2021
Photo: Wikimedia Commons__

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), appointed Carl Bildt as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) March 31, 2021.

The ACT-Accelerator is a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests, treatments and vaccines, according to the WHO website. 

It brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations. These include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO and the World Bank.

Bildt has served as both prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden and is a renowned international diplomat, having been the European Union Special Envoy to the erstwhile Yugoslavia; High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; UN Special Envoy to the Balkans and Co-Chair of the Dayton Peace Conference, according to a press statement by the WHO. 

Bildt succeeds Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Andrew Witty in the special envoy role.

Bildt will help lead the collective advocacy for the ACT-Accelerator in his new role, mobilising support and resources so it can deliver against its strategy for 2021.

He will also support the leaders of the ACT-Accelerator co-convening agencies, particularly in aligning work that cuts across the diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines pillars and health-system connector; consult widely on the work of the ACT-Accelerator; advise the director-general, ACT-Accelerator principals and stakeholders on emerging issues and represent the ACT-Accelerator in key national and international fora.

Bildt was joining the ACT-Accelerator at a pivotal time when the world was rolling out vaccines against COVID-19, introducing new diagnostics and scaling up life-saving oxygen and corticosteroids for severe disease, while addressing the uneven distribution of vaccines globally and the emergence of new variants of concern, the statement said.

The past year had highlighted the need for a globally coordinated response to the pandemic that prioritised equitable access to COVID-19 tools and was fueled by sufficient financial investment.

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