Bande made the statement during a high-level contact group meeting of the heads of state and government of the NAM.
“Chairman of the NAM, heads of state and government, ministers, ladies and gentlemen, I thank the Chairman of the NAM Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, for convening this important meeting. My sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and I wish those suffering from the disease a quick recovery. I thank healthcare workers and those on the frontlines combatting this disease, thereby keeping our communities safe and healthy. In the face of mounting challenges, we are reminded of the indispensability of the multilateral alliances, which have from the outset of this global challenge coordinated the global response. We must continue to support the WHO and one another to overcome this challenge and prevent future pandemics. I also call on all those that have the capacity to financially support the UN’s COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response plan to do so. COVID-19 has disrupted billions of lives with far-reaching effects on the health and livelihoods of people. The International Labor Organization estimates that workers will lose as much as $3.4 trillion in income by the end of 2020,” Bande said.
Bande said that currently, global health systems are under enormous stress and global travel has been severely impacted.
“While no country is spared from the scourge of this pandemic or its socio-economic impact, developing nations are bearing the heaviest brunt of it – even if they do not experience an outbreak of COVID-19. This pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities between and among nations, putting immense strain on tenuous systems and plunging those in the most precarious situations into deeper poverty and hunger. Compounding this, is that amid the ongoing crisis, there are too many countries experiencing protracted armed conflicts. I call on all countries, and parties to conflict, to support the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire. We must strengthen international cooperation to create conditions for dialogue and ensure access to food and essential health supplies to those in need during this period of uncertainty,” he said.
Bande also noted that this crisis comes as counties embark on the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and the risk losing the gains that were made arise.
“We pledged that we would leave no one behind by adopting Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to implement the Agenda and the Addis-Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development by demonstrating greater resolve and urgently galvanizing needed multilateral action. Much like the United Nations, the Non-aligned Movement was founded in response to a period of distrust. It was a different era, but the situation was remarkably similar to today. Countries realized that the challenges facing them required much more than national efforts. I call on you to work in the same manner today to find solutions to our newest common challenge. To effectively fight COVID-19 and mitigate its wide-ranging effects, our recovery efforts and actions to achieve the SDGs must be aligned,” Bande said.
He noted that given the importance of education in achieving the 2030 Agenda, parties must ensure that they urgently tackle the disruptions the pandemic has already caused to education around the world.
“With over 90 percent of the world’s students affected by school closures, we must coordinate effectively and support each other, to ensure that students around the world have access to quality education through remote learning. We cannot allow this pandemic to widen the educational gap that already exist, and I call on you all to make cooperation in key education sector a priority in your response to this pandemic. In addition, as many people around the world depend on agriculture – for food and income, we must do our best to ensure that agricultural workers are able to function with minimal disruption. I urge Your Excellencies, to ensure increased investment in inclusive and resilient food systems that reflects our new reality, and position us to better tackle the challenges they present. As we contend with the COVID-19 pandemic we must re-commit to ending hunger and poverty,” Bande said.
Bande said that while swift action is also needed to enable vulnerable countries scale up health responses and provide social protection, we must remember that effective public revenue generation will be key to financing resilient systems, now and in the future.
“Accordingly, we must continue to take concrete action to fight illicit financial flows, in other to mobilize funds for essential public expenditures. We must defeat this menace and build finance systems that can withstand the effects of COVID-19 and future shocks. Excellencies, I commend the leadership of NAM and its Member States, who have since the onset of this pandemic shown solidarity to fellow countries of the Global South by exchanging best practices, donating medical equipment and supplies, as well as providing food and other humanitarian assistance. I urge the Movement to continue to advocate for a mutually beneficial international economic space through the creation, development and diffusion of new technologies and innovations, within the framework of South-South Cooperation. I am grateful to NAM for the many ways it reinforces the principles of the Charter of the United Nation. I trust that the Movement will continue to be a voice of reason and moderation and continue to work, within the framework of the UN Charter and the Bandung Principles, for international peace and security, the rule of law, justice and sustainable development. I will continue to work with you to promote partnerships and galvanize the needed engagement to defeat COVID-19 and reduce its impact on all of us. Just as we have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges in the past, we will also overcome this together. Thank you,” Bande said.