United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for “immediate attention” to three global emergencies, namely a COVID-19 vaccine for all, aid to poor countries, and the fight against climate change.
At a press conference at UN headquarters in New York, he said the first global emergency requiring immediate attention is the distribution of vaccines against the novel coronavirus.
Mr. Guterres observed that while more than 70 million doses have been administered to date, less than 20,000 of them on the African continent. “A global immune deficiency puts everyone at risk,” he warned. “Vaccine nationalism is an economic as well as a moral failure,” he said. “If every country has the right – and the duty – to protect its own people, none can afford to neglect the rest of the world.”
“We need to close the funding gap, speed up vaccine production by making licenses widely available and sharing technology, and getting the doses into the hands of everyone who needs them – starting with healthcare workers and the people most at risk in the world, “said the secretary-general, adding that” we need a global vaccination campaign to deal with a global pandemic.
“The second area of urgent action is financial support to all countries that need it,” said Antonio Guterres.
“In today’s world, self-interest cannot be separated from solidarity. The world economy is made up of a complex web of transactions between developed and developing countries,” he said. he noted.
“As the pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains, the developed (economies) will not fully recover,” the UN chief added.
He warned that for a rapid and comprehensive recovery, the developed world should not only share vaccines equitably, but also support developing economies by ensuring continuity of liquidity, including through the issuance of special drawing rights, and extending debt relief to all developing and middle-income countries that need it.
According to Antonio Guterres, the third global emergency is the climate crisis.
“Recovery from the pandemic must encompass renewable energy and green and resilient infrastructure,” he said. “We have the opportunity to end our senseless war on nature and begin the healing process.”
“At five minutes before midnight, governments are finally starting to listen to the scientists, businesses, cities, universities and especially young people who have been world leaders on this issue,” the UN chief said, urging to “continue this momentum”.
Mr. Guterres stressed that the central UN goal for 2021 is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050. “Every country, city, financial institution and business must adopt credible plans for the transition to zero. net emissions by 2050 and take decisive action now to get on the right track “.
“Countries must review their national contributions determined before COP26 (the United Nations climate change conference in November) in Glasgow to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 from the levels of 2010 “, he concluded.