UNICEF's vaccine delivery innovations featured during Global Goals Week at Expo 2020 Dubai

UNICEF project is one of 25 best solutions to the world's biggest challenges

Fatima Zahra El Atrach
Expo GBPP Assembly
Expo 2020 Dubai
20 January 2022

For the first time, the Global Goals Week – an annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals – isn't held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York but at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Experts, changemakers, innovators and entrepreneurs gathered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a week-long series of events to showcase progress and best practices and discussed how, together, we could accelerate progress on the Goals during the Decade of Action.

The Global Best Practice Assembly – a key event of the Global Goals Week at Expo - celebrated real solutions to the world's biggest challenges by creating networks, sharing ideas and engaging in interactive learning to drive even more significant impact.

The Assembly is the intersection of the Global Goals Weeks and Expo's Global Best Practice Programme, which runs throughout the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai. The programme focuses on five areas in line with a number of the Sustainable Development Goals. It selected 25 projects and 20 stories from 1,175 Global Call for proposals submissions. All projects and stories are exhibited in the Opportunity Pavilion for the entire duration of Expo 2020 Dubai.

UNICEF's innovative vaccine delivery by drone in the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu is amongst the selected 25 projects. First piloted in 2018, the project is ever more relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on the complexity of delivering vaccines for children anywhere around the world, including the farthest and hardest to reach areas.

UNICEF is the largest single vaccine buyer globally, with unique and longstanding expertise in procurement and logistics to help children in need. UNICEF procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. UNICEF is the leading procurement partner of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and has helped reach more than 760 million children with life-saving vaccines over the last 20 years, preventing more than 13 million deaths.

Reaching every child is a complex task.

Vaccines are difficult to transport as they must be carried at specific temperatures. Warm weather locations like Vanuatu, an archipelago of 83 remote, mountainous islands stretching 1,300 kilometres and with limited roads, are particularly difficult for vaccine delivery. As a result, almost 1 in 5 of the country's children miss out on their essential childhood vaccines.

In December 2018, UNICEF, with the collaboration of the government of Vanuatu, delivered the first drone vaccine to improve the immunization of children. Vaccines were carried in Styrofoam boxes with icepacks with a temperature logger. An electronic indicator is triggered if the temperature of the vaccines swings out of acceptable range.

The Government of Vanuatu is interested in integrating the drone delivery of vaccines into their national immunization programme and using drones more widely to distribute health supplies.

For more about the project click here.

For more about Expo's Best Practice Programme and exhibition, click here.