President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday stressed the need for collective action to effectively improve economic conditions and the health sector with equal access for all to Covid vaccines.

In a video message on the occasion of the launch of the fourth edition of the three-day Paris Peace Forum that kicked off on Thursday, the president said that the gap that needed to be addressed first was the one on health and economic recovery.

“A year and a half since its onset, the Covid-19 reality has brought some major changes to our way of life. But as we are trying to return to normality, health and economic recovery remain central for a forward-looking agenda,” the president said.

Without effectively protecting public health, and a broad-based economic expansion around the world, he said, it would be difficult to address other challenges, such as the fields of employment, education, healthcare, gender equality and so on.

“This gap can be closed only by capturing lessons learnt and embracing the opportunities which have also arisen,” he added.

Anastasiades suggested a number of initiatives towards this end such as more support to Covax initiative that aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and guarantee fair and equitable access for every country. Anastasiades suggests that more support to Covax is necessary to help make its efforts for global equitable access to vaccines an even greater success. “Failure to do so, might translate to a pandemic with no definite end-horizon,” he said.

The president also called for the implementation of robust socio-economic recovery plans, at home and internationally to promote business-friendly, green and digital economies, “in which no one is left behind.”

Quoting French President Emmanuel Macron who said, “there is no Plan-et B”, Anastasiades said that “the pandemic has showcased the common destiny of humanity on our planet, we must act upon this premise and strive to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals to transform our world for the better.”

Among the speakers at the fourth edition of the Paris Peace Forum are UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, many heads of states and representatives of international and non-governmental organisations.

The forum will focus on spurring a more solid and inclusive recovery by addressing the various gaps in global governance, offering initiatives to better tend to the global commons, and putting forward new principles of action for the post-Covid world.

Anastasiades will also attend the international conference on Libya, which will be held on Friday in Paris. The conference is being organised with the United Nations, Germany and Italy, ahead of elections planned in Libya for December 24.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is to also attend the summit, as part of a broader, five-day diplomatic trip to France, reports said.

This will be the first time Cyprus will participate in a conference on Libya where the withdrawal of foreign troops is to be discussed and the political transition in the country, in view of the December elections.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is one of the key players in the Libyan conflict, had said last week he would not participate in the summit if Greece, Israel and Cyprus attended. Erdogan said after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron that if these countries are to attend the conference, then there was no need to even send special representatives.

France’s foreign minister said last month the conference on Libya aimed to give a final international push so that elections would be held by year-end and to endorse the departure of foreign forces.