In Conversation with António Guterres
António Guterres is the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
31 March 2020 — The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy
The International Monetary Fund has reassessed the prospect for growth for 2020 and 2021, declaring that we have entered a recession – as bad as or worse than in 2009. We must respond decisively, innovatively and together to suppress the spread of the virus and address the socio-economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing in all regions.
The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis — large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive, with country and international responses being guided by the World Health Organization. And it must be multilateral, with countries showing solidarity to the most vulnerable communities and nations. The message of the report we are issuing today is clear: shared responsibility and global solidarity in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
First, for an immediate coordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic. A response that scales up health capacity for testing, tracing, quarantine and treatment; a response that delivers universal access to treatment and vaccines, when they are ready. It is essential that developed countries immediately assist those less developed to bolster their health systems and their response capacity to stop transmission.
Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world.
Second, we must tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of this crisis, with a focus on the most affected: women, older persons, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector and vulnerable groups, especially those in humanitarian and conflict settings. That means designing fiscal and monetary policies able to support the direct provision of resources to support workers and households, the provision of health and unemployment insurance, scaled up social protection, and support to businesses to prevent bankruptcies and massive job losses.
The United Nations system is fully mobilised, providing guidance for global efforts, supporting country responses and placing our supply chains at the world’s disposal. And to support our efforts, the United Nations is establishing a new multi-partner Trust Fund for the COVID-19 Response and Recovery to support low- and middle-income countries to respond to the emergency and recover from the socio-economic shock.
UN Resident Coordinators worldwide will be the drivers of the UN response on the ground, ensuring that the wide and diverse expertise and assets of the United Nations system are used in the most efficient and effective way to support countries.
Our roadmap is the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy.
Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face.