GENEVA, Switzerland — Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, has appointed Carl Bildt as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). Carl Bildt succeeds Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Sir Andrew Witty in this special envoy role.
In his role as WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator, Carl Bildt will help lead the collective advocacy for the ACT-Accelerator, mobilizing 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.
Carl Bildt joins the ACT-Accelerator at a pivotal time when the world rolls out vaccines against COVID-19, introduces new diagnostics and scales 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 past year has highlighted the need for a globally coordinated response to the pandemic that prioritizes equitable access to COVID-19 tools and is fueled by sufficient financial investment. The ACT-Accelerator partnership, of leading public health organizations, is the only global initiative offering an integrated, end-to-end solution to expedite the end of the pandemic through the equitable distribution of vaccines, tests and treatments.
Carl Bildt has had an extensive career dedicated to working for the global common good. He served as both prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, and is a renowned international diplomat, having been EU Special Envoy to the former Yugoslavia; High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; UN Special Envoy to the Balkan; and co-chair of the Dayton Peace Conference.
Dr Tedros said: “Former prime minister Bildt’s appointment as Special Envoy for the ACT – Accelerator comes at a time when global solidarity and equitable access to life-saving tools are more important than ever. We are fortunate to have him in this important leadership role, helping us to get therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines to health workers and vulnerable populations around the world.”
Carl Bildt, said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator. As a unique instrument of coordination for the global effort to fight the pandemic, the ACT-Accelerator has proved its worth during the past year. But with infections rising in all regions of the world, and with the danger of vaccine nationalism growing, work must be intensified across the entire range of efforts to fight the pandemic. It’s a question of saving lives, protecting health systems and getting the global economy going again.”