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Primates write to Session of the World Health Assembly following Primates’ Meeting

Posted on: November 26, 2021 3:24 PM
(Right to left) Archbishops Justin Welby, Paul Kwong and Jackson Sapit
Photo Credit: ACNS

Primates of the Anglican Communion have written to the Special Session of the World Health Assembly.

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have called on the Special Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA), meeting from 29 November to 1 December, to be bold and courageous in its plans for an international agreement and treaty on global health emergency preparedness and response. In a letter to the WHA they call for the need to address and improve both equity in the distribution of vaccines and education to counter vaccine hesitancy around the globe. 

The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. This special session will consider the “benefits of developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness”. 

The Primates’ Meeting took place virtually on 22 and 23 November, and brought together the Primates, Presiding Bishops and Moderators of the Churches of the Anglican Communion. In their communique, the Primates said: “We are united in calling for greater vaccine equity, based on a spirit not of charity but of recognising the common good in resolving the current disparity. We call for generosity from those who have – towards those who have not - and for a greater acknowledgment of the effect of the pandemic on health and education.” 

The Primates’ Meeting is one of Anglicanism’s four “Instruments of Communion” and helps bind together the “independent but inter-dependent” provinces. The last face to face meeting took place in Jordan in January 2020, with an online meeting last held in November 2020.

The communique also noted the Primates’ conversations on the Climate Emergency and COP26; the launch of the Anglican Communion Science Commission; and the Lambeth Conference scheduled for 2022. The Primates spent time together in fellowship and prayer and took time to lament the death of Archbishop Fereimi Cama of Polynesia, as well as welcoming new Primates and celebrating the inauguration of the new Provinces of Alexandria and Angola and Mozambique. 

The next Primates’ Meeting will take place in Rome in March 2022.