It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Abu Dhabi for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s 2018 Mid-Term Review (MTR) meeting, which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is proud to host. In the UAE, we believe strongly in the right of all children to be immunised, as well as the essential role vaccines play in ensuring that they have the best chance of growing up in a secure and prosperous environment. Childhood immunisation is key to protecting the next generation and should be central to every development programme. This is one of several reasons why we are so committed to working with the Alliance and are proud to be a partner in fulfilling its mission: to protect the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children. Since 2011, the UAE has contributed more than US$ 38 million to Gavi.
However, it is not just the Alliance’s objectives that make it a unique partner for the UAE. The way that Gavi works towards achieving those goals aligns fully with our own approach to addressing global challenges. The continual drive for innovation and collaboration resonates with both the UAE’s 2017–2021 Foreign Assistance Policy and its 2021 Vision. The latter marks our nation’s Golden Jubilee and will emphasise the importance of addressing new challenges in an innovative way – requiring a deep examination of trends together with a proactive approach. It was with the same spirit of proactivity and innovation that the UAE became the first Middle Eastern donor to support the Alliance.
These qualities also drove us to become the first government to partner with Gavi’s Innovation for Uptake, Scale and Equity in Immunisation (INFUSE) – a ground-breaking initiative that identifies tried and tested technology with real potential to transform vaccine delivery (see page 7). INFUSE is not just about technology, it also connects people, building innovation through collaboration. This capacity to bring together a diversity of partners – from the private sector and civil society, to governments and industry – is one of the core strengths of Gavi’s business model.
By gathering stakeholders to reflect on Gavi’s results midway through this reporting period, the MTR is yet another example of the collaborative spirit at the heart of the Alliance. It will allow us to explore in depth how partners can respond to the emerging challenges of this period, as well as lay the groundwork for the future.
It is highly appropriate that the UAE is hosting this meeting in the Year of Zayed – the 100-year anniversary of the birth of our country’s founding father. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan demonstrated that investing in people’s welfare, knowledge and capabilities produces great dividends for individuals, families and society as a whole. This echoes Gavi’s own commitment to improving the lives of children in the world’s poorest countries. It is only by working together that we can fully leverage the Alliance’s potential and ensure that everyone can benefit from life-saving vaccines, no matter where they live.