About us

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed increased appeals to solidarity as a necessary condition for overcoming the devastating effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reducing inequalities, and protecting vulnerable populations at national and international levels. In the early stages of the pandemic, despite the challenges associated with social distancing and lockdowns as mitigation measures, people everywhere found creative ways to express solidarity through various acts of sympathy and reaching out to assist others.

Leaders of countries appealed to solidarity to enforce public health measures to protect the vulnerable, save lives, and keep healthcare systems from being overwhelmed, employing such slogans as “we are all in this together”, “no one is safe until everyone is safe” and “if anyone is left behind, we are all held back.”

In contrast, at a global level, these appeals to solidarity have produced meagre results. A glaring example is the inability of the WHO-led COVAX facility, established under the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), to ensure greater equity in the procurement and distribution of vaccines.

Although the mission statement of the ACT-A, speaks of “coming together in the spirit of solidarity,” the main actors --WHO, UNICEF, HIC donors, LMICs, World Bank, BMGF, FIND, Unitaid, GFATM, CEPI, GAVI, Wellcome, industry associations, civil society organizations--do not have any agreed definition or tools to operationalize these solidaristic ideals. At present, there are no agreed tools for measuring and holding global actors accountable for solidarity practice. It is critical to rectify these conceptual ambiguities and epistemic injustices, and generate a conception of solidarity that brings together knowledge from the global North and global South. It is unlikely, and unfair to expect, that actors in the global South will embrace conceptions and tools based on understandings from only the global North.

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