UN chief calls for solidarity in response to COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-04 01:34:47|Editor: huaxia

UNITED NATIONS, June 3 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for solidarity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a "people's vaccine" against the virus.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is causing enormous human suffering and economic hardship around the world. 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," Guterres told an extraordinary inter-sessional summit of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

Economic stimulus in response to the pandemic must prioritize putting cash in the hands of those most badly affected, and increasing social protection for the vulnerable, he told the virtual event.

"Looming crises could contribute to the deepest global depression since the 1930s. I welcome the debt relief initiatives by the G20 (Group of 20). But they are not enough," said Guterres.

Small island developing countries face particular challenges. Many are heavily indebted, on the front lines of the climate crisis, and rely heavily on tourism and remittances -- sectors that are among the hardest hit, he noted.

African countries' rapid and effective response to COVID-19 holds lessons for other countries and regions. However, much still lies in the balance. Without urgent action, economic recession could push millions of people across the continent into extreme poverty and hunger, he warned.

"This cannot be allowed to happen. We are pushing hard for international action to support African countries, strengthen health systems, maintain food supplies, protect jobs and keep households and businesses afloat."

Global, unifying solutions are lagging behind. One such solution would be a vaccine against COVID-19, he said. "I repeat my call for this to be made available quickly, affordably and equally. It must be seen as a global public good, as the people's vaccine." Enditem