Brussels, 15 March 2021/OACPS: The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, has endorsed the candidate proposed by the European Union (EU), MEP Dr Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, MD, PhD of France, for the post of Co-Chair of the COVAX Facility Shareholders Council, following a recent meeting of the Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors.

“The OACPS has had a long and enduring partnership with the EU, which has been a strong supporter of the COVAX facility and ACT-A. Team Europe is also one of the lead contributors to COVAX with an investment of over € 2.2 billion and has already started to make good on its stated intention of ensuring equitable global access to vaccines. Having spoken with Dr Zacharopoulou, I believe she represents the values we expect and is an ideal candidate for this post at this time.” Secretary Chikoti further added that Dr Zacharopoulou would also provide gender-balanced leadership for the Facility.

Dr Zacharopoulou, currently EU Vice-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), is also vice-chair of the Committee on Development and the Parliament’s rapporteur on the Africa-EU strategy, as well as a Member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the European Parliament. Familiar both with the issues of concern to the OACPS and more specifically, COVID-19 and the rollout of the vaccines, she has worked actively in the OACPS, assisting most recently in a mission to Rwanda to assist in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The EU considers Dr Zacharopoulou, a surgeon-gynecologist who also holds an executive Master’s degree in Public Health, to be eminently suited to serve in the post, as she brings a multi-faceted experience as a physician and a politician and a fresh view on global Health. Dr Zacharopoulou’s career experience has also prepared her to understand and be responsive to the mission of the COVAX Facility as well as the needs, concerns and contributions of COVAX stakeholders, the private sector, civil society and public-private partnership at all levels.

Currently, thirteen Members of the OACPS are among the list of 92 countries to be assisted by COVAX and 14 Members are on the COVAX Facility Shareholders Council.

COVAX is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.