UN chief calls for developing global economy with universal respect for int'l law

  26 January 2021    Read: 607
UN chief calls for developing global economy with universal respect for int

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on countries to develop a global economy with universal respect for international law.

"We need one global economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions," the UN chief told the virtual Davos Agenda 2021.

"Humanity has just endured a year of tragedy and crisis that we never want to repeat. But the tests to our societies are continuing. If there is one word that characterizes today's world, it is fragility," said Guterres.

More than 2,000 business, government and civil society leaders and 25 heads of state or government are set to meet virtually for the World Economic Forum Davos Agenda this week to tackle the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and address the urgent need for global cooperation.

The Davos Agenda 2021 will convene from Jan. 25-29 under the theme "A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust" and discuss current challenges such as COVID-19 vaccination, job creation and climate change.

Speaking of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Guterres said that more than 2 million people have died, and "we are in the worst economic crisis for nearly a century," while noting that "the world sees the fragility in the inequalities among people and countries that have been starkly highlighted by the pandemic."

"We also see fragility in the climate and biodiversity crises. Both are existential threats. Both are getting worse. We are waging war on nature and destroying our life support system. We see fragility in global geopolitical divides," warned the secretary-general.

The UN chief once again expressed his concern about the division "between the two largest economies" and said "we must do everything possible to avert such a division."

The secretary-general also voiced his concerns about the fragilities in cyberspace and disarmament regime.

"In 2021 we must address these fragilities and put the world on track. It is time to change course and take the sustainable path," the UN chief underscored.

Speaking about the recovery, Guterres stressed that "this year, we have a unique opportunity to do so. We can use our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to move from fragilities to resilience."

"But, all these threats, all these obstacles to progress, demand dialogue and collaboration. Governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society need to work together," the secretary-general stressed.

He said the common direction of the international community has been clearly defined by the Sustainable Development Goals.

"To achieve them, I have also been calling for a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal to create equal opportunities for all and respect the rights and freedoms of all," he said.

On the two immediate priorities in the context of pandemic recovery, the top UN official said that "first, we need an inclusive and equitable global recovery to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Second, we need a green recovery that will tackle climate change and biodiversity loss."

Talking about the inclusive and sustainable recovery, Guterres said that the recovery around the globe will depend on the availability and effectiveness of vaccines for all, immediate fiscal and monetary support in both developed and developing countries, and transformative longer-term stimulus measures.

Referring to the fact that vaccines are "quickly reaching high-income countries," while the world's poorest "have none at all," the UN chief warned that "if developed countries think they will be safe if they vaccinate their own countries while neglecting the developing world, they are wrong."

"There is a real danger of mutations making the virus more transmissible or lethal or resistant to existing vaccines. We must act fast. Vaccine production capacity around the world needs to be massively scaled-up, and affordability must be ensured. Vaccines must be seen as global public goods -- people's vaccines," said the secretary-general.

Guterres once again urged support for the "full funding for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility."

On the second priority, Guterres said that "we need a sustainable recovery that helps to end our war against nature, avert climate catastrophe and restore our planet."

"Every action, big or small counts, but those with greater capabilities and resources should lead the way," the UN chief noted.


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