BRICS Backs India-South Africa Bid for COVID Vaccine Patent Waiver
India and South Africa have submitted their proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The five-country grouping BRICS agreed to support the India-South Africa proposition of waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines in a virtual summit held on 1 June, Tuesday.
The two countries have been urging for the exemption of COVID vaccines from patent protections since last year, as per a Hindustan Times report.
India and South Africa have submitted their proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO), moving the WTO to temporarily absolve certain aspects of the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccines.
What Was Discussed at the BRICS Summit?
Grace Pandor, Minister of International Relations, South Africa, presented the recommendation for patent waiver in the BRICS meeting.
“South Africa and India submitted a proposal to the WTO for a temporary waiver of certain aspects of TRIPS to facilitate wider access to technologies needed to produce vaccines, for treatment and diagnostics,” she said, as per an Indian Express report.
The grouping between the five emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa also agreed to work together on the matters of sharing of vaccine doses, development of vaccine production capacities, and transfer of technology, in order to put up a collective fight against the ongoing pandemic.
The meeting, chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, concurred, for the first time, with a common, stand-alone joint statement that addressed the need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system.
Jaishankar emphasised upon the guiding principles of the BRICS formation, stating that positive change can only be achieved if the reforms are made in accordance with the key principles.
They members assented that such reforms should encompass all salient multilateral institutions, including the United Nations and its constituents, such as the Security Council and General Assembly, the global health system led by the WHO, global financial bodies such as the IMF and World Bank, as well as the the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its centre.
“In a significant move, we were able to get the BRICS’ FMs to call for further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness, and transparency,” a source told IE.
Jaishankar, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Brazil Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Franco, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and South African Minister of International Relations Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor were present in the virtual meeting.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times and The Indian Express.)
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