THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
Message to the Global Solutions Summit
New York, 21st April 2020
See the original letter here
I send my best wishes and encouragement to the Global Solutions Summit at this very challenging time.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of humanity’s common fate and of the need for immediate investments to reduce the risk of catastrophic consequences later on. I believe that now more than ever, multilateralism and coordinated international action are paramount.
Even strong and well-funded health systems are struggling to respond to the virus, while the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic are clear: unemployment is soaring in some countries; inequalities are deepening; and many countries are unable to meet to needs of the elderly and vulnerable. While early indications are that male mortality from COVID19 is far higher, women, who represent 70 per cent of health-care workers, are disproportionately impacted in many other ways.
We must learn the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis, which demonstrated that countries with robust social protection systems suffered least and recovered most quickly. We need urgent investment in critical public services and global public goods to suppress the virus, to minimize the social and economic impact of the pandemic, and to recover better, with more sustainable and resilient economies and development models.
I have already urged G20 economies to launch a large-scale, coordinated stimulus package in the trillions of dollars to target resources to businesses, workers and households in countries that are unable to do so alone. This would include scaling up cash transfer measures, social protection, tax abatement, fiscal stimulus, low interest rates, access to credit, insurance and wage support schemes.
We are well into uncharted territory, but the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change provide guidance that is more relevant than ever. We must ensure that we do not lose the progress that has been made, and that recovery strategies keep us on track towards our agreed long-term objectives for people and planet. I urge you to focus your efforts on decisive steps to build the equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies needed to deal not only with future pandemics, but with the climate crisis and the other global challenges we face.
The United Nations is fully mobilized for this essential work. In that spirit of partnership, I wish you well in your discussions, as well as good health and safety in these challenging times.