Follow the science: UN plans for a stronger pandemic recovery

29 January 2021

Funders responsible for more than $100 million of annual global research investments joined the deputy UN chief Amina Mohammed on Friday to discuss how to unify research efforts, and use science to recover effectively from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her remarks to the event, Ms. Mohammed noted the far-reaching social, economic, and health impacts of the pandemic, the disproportionate effect that it has had on the most marginalized populations, and the 70 million extra people who have been pushed into poverty as a result of measures taken to curb the spread of the virus.

A new future’

COVID-19”, said the deputy UN chief, “has made it evident that we must build a new future through transformative changes that prioritize equity, resilience and sustainability”.

We must build a new future through transformative changes that prioritize equity, resilience and sustainability Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General

The Open Dialogue on Science for Development in the Context of COVID-19, billed as a first-of-its-kind event, was convened by the UN and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, to highlight the importance of science and global collaboration. 

The discussions between the senior representatives of research institutions and senior UN officials were based on partnership strategies, including the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery, released in November 2020.

With the virus exposing stark global inequities, the roadmap is designed to address the complex health, humanitarian and socio-economic consequences of COVID-19, while boosting speedy recovery efforts, and encouraging targeted research for data-driven responses that focus particularly on the needs of people being left behind. Many of the experts who contributed to the Roadmap also participated in the Open Dialogue.

CDC
A scientist tests a sample suspected of containing a bacterial toxin.

Closer collaboration

The event served as a stepping-stone towards the UN’s aim of ramping up progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through closer collaboration between researchers, funding agencies, governments and civil society organizations, as well as UN entities.

“To succeed, we need solutions and global action that is focused, coordinated and unified”, declared Ms. Mohammed. “It will require new and strengthened partnerships across the global research community and between researchers, research funding organizations and the United Nations”. 
 

The UN response to COVID-19, as of January 2021

  • 118 Socio Economic Response Plans have been finalized by UN Country Teams 
  • Two billion dollars in new funds have been mobilized 
  • Three billion dollars have been repurposed 
  • 127 UN Country Teams have repurposed existing funding towards COVID-19 recovery 
  • With UN support, 75 countries have national COVID-19 Socio Economic Response Plans 

 

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