16 February, 2022: Two investigative reports from the British Medical Journal and Amnesty International have exposed how the pharmaceutical industry is working to undermine global efforts to tackle vaccine equity.
February 15, 2022: Environmental defenders in Thailand have slammed a decision by the Thai Government to reinstate formerly revoked mining licenses following a lengthy legal battle in an international arbitration tribunal, paving the way for Australian mining company Kingsgate Consolidated to begin operations in the Chatree gold mine.
February 14, 2022: The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (JSFADT) held an inquiry into he expansion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP) in 2021, and the committee report was released on February 10, 2022.
The government has a majority on this committee, which makes general investigations into trade issues. The UK, China and Taiwan applied in that order in 2020 to join the CPTPP, and their applications will be considered by the eight of the eleven governments that have ratified the agreement.
The report recommends that Australia support the applications of the UK and Taiwan, but places conditions on support for China’s accession.
February 9, 2022: Following the announcement of a free trade deal between Australia and the UK late last year, the text has been tabled in Parliament and a parliamentary inquiry into the agreement has been launched. The inquiry will allow civil society organisations to make submissions concerning the potential impacts of the agreement.
February 8, 2022: Scientists at a World Health Organisation (WHO) mRNA vaccine hub in South Africa are developing a COVID19 jab based on the Moderna mRNA vaccine, but it will not be mass produced until next year.
February 7, 2022: WTO meetings held in December and January have failed to agree to waive monopoles on COVID vaccines and treatments to increase global production and address the low vaccination rates of 10 per cent or less in low income countries.
This failure of the WTO process was recognised by the WTO Director-General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has convened informal meetings between supporters and opponents to make progress. These meeting are ongoing,
1 February, 2022: More than 320 scientists and public health experts in the UK have called on the British Government to support a waiver on vaccine patent monopolies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which would allow low-income countries to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments for themselves.
January 31, 2022: Speaking on ABC Radio National’s The Money, Executive Director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima has condemned global vaccine apartheid, saying that leaders of rich countries are “sitting back and watching a handful of companies creating billions for themselves, as people die and as the virus mutates and continues to spread.”
January 24, 2022: An MSF study shows why the COVAX donation scheme to distribute vaccines to low-income countries has fallen short of its promises for global vaccine equity. As of November 2021, more than 73% of people in high-income countries (HICs) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with less than 6% of people in low-income countries. COVAX only raised half of its target of $2billion by the end of 2021, its main sponsors have not supported proposals to share vaccine knowledge through waiving monopolies on vaccines to increase global production .
January 19, 2022: A new report from Oxfam International has detailed the growing global economic inequality caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The report, Inequality Kills, highlights how World Trade Organisation (WTO) intellectual property rules have created a “vaccine apartheid” between wealthy nations and low-income countries, “a stain on the history of our species”.