Global perspective Human stories

‘Stronger response’ key, to build a safer and more stable future: Guterres

A midwife in Addis Ababa examines a mother and her newborn.
© Ethiopian Midwives Associatio
A midwife in Addis Ababa examines a mother and her newborn.

‘Stronger response’ key, to build a safer and more stable future: Guterres


UN chief António Guterres is calling for greater unity and solidarity to defeat COVID-19 and build a better world in the wake of the global pandemic.

The Secretary-General made the appeal on Wednesday in opening remarks to an extraordinary inter-sessional summit of the 79-member Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

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He said the novel coronavirus outbreak is causing enormous human suffering and economic hardship – and that it could be followed by other crises that would contribute to the worst economic depressing since the 1930s.

More unity, solidarity

“We need a much stronger response of unity and solidarity if we are to get through this pandemic together and build a safer, more stable future”, he said, addressing the virtual summit via video-teleconference from New York.

He added that COVID-19 is exposing the fragility of the world, laying bare deep injustice and inequalities based on income, gender, race and more.

“Returning to the systems that created this fragility is out of the question,” he said.

“All our efforts must go towards building more equal, inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies and societies, based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris agreement (on climate change) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (on financing for development).”

Not the only emergency

He added: “This is essential not only to beat COVID-19, but to tackle the other existential crises we face, including the climate emergency.”

He reiterated the UN’s call for an economic stimulus package equal to more than 10 per cent of the global economy that gives priority to putting case in the hands of those most badly affected by the pandemic while also increasing social protection for the vulnerable.

Debt relief initiatives by the G20 group of rich nations are welcome, but they are not enough, Mr. Guterres said, emphasizing the need to enhance global liquidity, extend debt relief, align global financial systems with the Sustainable Development Goals and combat illicit financial flows.

The OACPS virtual summit aims to assess the global COVID-19 situation and, in particular, its impact and consequences for the Organization’s member states.  In addition, it will identify opportunities for global solidarity and action.