Unlike any global health crisis in the 75-year history of the United Nations, the coronavirus pandemic is “spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives”, he added.
Calling for global solidarity, Mr. Guterres said: “Our human family is stressed, and the social fabric is being torn. People are suffering, sick and scared”.
And as country-level responses cannot single-handedly address the global scale and complexity of the crisis, he maintained that “coordinated, decisive and innovative policy action” is needed from the world’s leading economies.
Mr. Guterres said that he looks forward to participating in the G20 leaders’ emergency summit next week to respond to the pandemic’s “epic challenge”.
“My central message is clear”, he spelled out: “We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply”.
Indicating that “we are at war with a virus”, the UN chief stressed that creative responses “must match the unique nature of the crisis – and the magnitude of the response must match its scale”.
And although COVID-19 is killing people and attacking economies, by managing the crisis well, “we can steer the recovery toward a more sustainable and inclusive path”, he said.
“I call on world leaders to come together and offer an urgent and coordinated response to this global crisis,” he said.
The UN chief said that tackling the health emergency was his number one concern and advocated for scaled-up health spending to cover, among other things and “without stigma”, testing, supporting health care workers and ensuring adequate supplies.
“It has been proven that the virus can be contained. It must be contained”, he said, advising to move from a country-by-country strategy to a “coordinated global response, including helping countries that are less prepared to tackle the crisis”.
“Global solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is in everyone’s interests”, he stated and urged Governments to fully meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) appeals, saying, “we are only as strong as the weakest health system”.
Response and recovery
As the second crisis priority, Mr. Guterres pointed to social impact and the economic response and recovery.
He cited a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report projecting that workers could lose some $3.4 trillion in income by year’s end.
But the world is not experiencing an ordinary shock in supply and demand, “it is a shock to society as a whole”, he said.
“Most fundamentally, we need to focus on people – the most vulnerable, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises” explained the UN chief. “That means wage support, insurance, social protection, preventing bankruptcies and job loss”.
He elaborated that “the recovery must not come on the backs of the poorest – and we cannot create a legion of new poor” and pushed for supporting informal economy workers and countries less able to respond.
Appealing for a global financial commitment, he noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other international financial institutions would play a key role.
Mr. Guterres encouraged dismantling trade barriers and re-establishing supply chains.
He also spoke of the pandemic’s impact on women, saying that they are “disproportionally carrying the burden at home and in the wider economy” and on children, noting that more than 800 million are currently not in class, “many of whom rely on school to provide their only meal”.
“As people’s lives are disrupted, isolated and upturned, we must prevent this pandemic from turning into a crisis of mental health”, the Secretary-General continued, indicating the need to maintain support programmes for the most vulnerable, underlining that “humanitarian needs must not be sacrificed”.
Against this backdrop, Mr. Guterres final point was that we have a responsibility to “recover better”.
“We must ensure that lessons are learned and that this crisis provides a watershed moment for health emergency preparedness and for investment in critical 21st century public services and the effective delivery of global public goods”, he said.
Press Release: Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2019
10 April 2019, Bangkok (ESCAP News) — Sixty-plus international organizations, led by the United Nations and including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and World Trade Organization, jointly sounded the alarm in a new report, warning that unless national and international financial systems are revamped, the world’s governments will fail to keep their promises on such critical issues as combatting climate change and eradicating poverty by 2030.
In their 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, the international organizations find some good news: investment has gained strength in some countries and interest in sustainable investing is growing, with 75 per cent of individual investors showing interest in how their investments affect the world.
And yet, greenhouse gas emissions grew 1.3 per cent in 2017; investment in many countries is falling; and 30 developing countries are now at high risk or already in debt distress. At the same time, global growth is expected to have peaked at around 3 per cent.
Changing the current trajectory in financing sustainable development is not just about raising additional investment, says the report. Achieving global goals depends on supportive financial systems, and conducive global and national policy environments.
Yet the report warns that creating favourable conditions is becoming more challenging. Rapid changes in technology, geopolitics, and climate are remaking our economies and societies, and existing national and multilateral institutions — which had helped lift billions out of poverty — are now struggling to adapt. Confidence in the multilateral system has been undermined, in part because it has failed to deliver returns equitably, with most people in the world living in countries with increasing inequality.
“Trust in the multilateral system itself is eroding, in part because we are not delivering inclusive and sustainable growth for all,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his foreword to the report. “Our shared challenge is to make the international trading and financial systems fit for purpose to advance sustainable development and promote fair globalization.”
The international agencies recommend concrete steps to overhaul the global institutional architecture and make the global economy and global finance more sustainable, including:
supporting a shift towards long-term investment horizons with sustainability risks central to investment decisions;
revisiting mechanisms for sovereign debt restructuring to respond to more complex debt instruments and a more diverse creditor landscape;
revamping the multilateral trading system;
addressing challenges to tax systems that inhibit countries from mobilizing adequate resources in an increasingly digitalized world economy; and
addressing growing market concentration that extends across borders, with impacts on inequality.
At the national level, the report puts forward a roadmap for countries to revamp their public and private financial systems to mobilize resources for sustainable investment. It introduces tools for countries to align financing policies with national sustainable development strategies and priorities.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has produced a complementary report on “Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific: Highlights in the Context of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, 2019 Edition”. Among other findings, the ESCAP report emphasizes the importance of raising public resources to finance urban infrastructure development in a context of breakneck urbanization and enhancing capacity-building efforts in the area of infrastructure financing and public-private partnerships.
The ESCAP report also underlines the need to scale up investments and international development cooperation to facilitate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region. “In a region as diverse as ours,” pointed out Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, “investment needs vary considerably. Least developed countries need to invest the most at 16 per cent of GDP while South and South-West Asia has an investment need of 10 per cent of GDP to reach the goals by 2030.”
Finally, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in partnership with the Asian Development Bank has prepared another complementary report entitled “Integrated Financial Solutions: How Countries are Innovating to Finance the Sustainable Development Goals”. Based on more than 40 case studies from around the world, the report documents integration efforts across public and private financing of the SDGs, with a focus on the connection between planning processes, budgeting and policies to engage the private sector.
Application open for Reham Al-Farra Journalism Fellowship
Manila, 21 March 2019 — The Department of Global Communications (DGC) is accepting applications for the 2019 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which will be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 15 September to 5 October 2019.
The Fellowship will bring a select group of young journalists from around the world to United Nations Headquarters to cover the General Assembly, interview senior officials, and attend special briefings and workshops.
The Fellowship is open to full-time journalists between the ages of 22 and 35 from countries with developing and transitioning economies. A full list of eligible countries is available at https://outreach.un.org/raf/eligibility.
The Fellowship covers the cost of roundtrip air travel to New York and provides a daily subsistence allowance.
This Fellowship commemorates the memory of Reham Al-Farra (photo above), a Jordanian diplomat and journalist who was murdered in the Canal Hotel bombing in 2003. Only 29 years old when killed, she served as a Minister of Public Information and for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
On Monday, 18 March, the Secretary-General’s report on “Special Measures for the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Implementing a Zero-Tolerance Policy” was issued in New York.
The report contains information on and a series of charts that outline the nature of allegations reported for UN peace operations, for UN entities other than peace operations, implementing partners, and for non-UN forces operating under a Security Council mandate.
In his report, the Secretary-General updates the General Assembly on the efforts that the UN system has undertaken in 2018 to address this scourge, including highlighting the victim-centered approach.
Please find below the Report highlights.
Highlights of the Report:
Overview of 2018 Data on Allegations
In 2018, there were 148 allegations system-wide and 111 for non-UN related entities. The total in 2017 and 2016, respectively was 138 and 165 allegations.
Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions
The number of cases of sexual exploitation and abuse reported for peacekeeping has decreased, with 54 allegations reported in 2018, compared with 62 and 104 reported in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The majority (74 per cent) of the allegations received in 2018 are from the peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), with the remaining 26 per cent associated with the operations in Mali (MINUSMA), Haiti (MINUSTAH), Liberia (UNMIL), and South Sudan (UNMISS).
The allegations reported for peacekeeping missions were associated with 94 victims, of whom 83% cent were adults and 17% were children. Alleged perpetrators included 64 military, 14 police and 14 civilian personnel. Of the allegations reported in 2018, 20 (37% involved sexual abuse and 34 (63%) sexual exploitation of an adult
There were no allegations reported for special political missions in 2018.
Other United Nations system entities and their implementing partners
In 2018, 94 allegations against UN personnel in entities other than peacekeeping were reported.
Reports of allegations related to personnel of implementing partners has increased to 109 in 2018, from 25 in 2017, suggesting that awareness-raising and outreach efforts are having an impact and that there is increased trust among victims and witnesses and increased understanding of the need to report.
Non-United Nations forces authorized by a Security Council mandate
2 allegations were reported for such forces in 2018. There was 1 allegation in 2017 and 20 in 2016.