The United Nations (UN) held a wide-ranging policy discussion through video conferencing on Monday with a focus on multilateral solutions to ease the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and continue achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Starting off with the topic – ‘Joining Forces: Effective Policy Solutions for Covid-19 Response,’ Mona Juul, president of the Economic and Social Council said, “Our commitment to achieving the SDGs has not changed, but the urgency to act has.” While working toward breakthroughs that will help the world overcome the pandemic, including a vaccine, the agency has also realized the scale of the social and economic crisis that comes along with the health emergency, Juul said.
Owing to the COVID-induced lockdown, nearly half the global workforce is in immediate danger of being unemployed, while other global goals are being reversed, such as the increase in global poverty, for the first time since 1998. Juul said that some regions are slipping back to poverty levels that were last seen 30 years ago.
Malaria mortality levels have threatened to surge to the same level as 20 years ago and violence against women and girls "has become a shadow pandemic, with the number of victims increased to the hundreds of millions worldwide," she said.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the meeting needs of people in the worst-hit regions depends on the UN's ability to support governments in tackling the health and economic crisis. While allocating resources, she said, close attention will be paid of conflict- and disaster-affected countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries.
Speaking of the UN's COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund being raised to catalyze joint action for the most vulnerable countries and communities, Mohammed said that while the agency estimated to raise billions, it has only received millions.
Liu Zhenmin, head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) describes COVID-19 pandemic as "a humanitarian crisis of historic magnitude” which has destabilized global economic growth and led the world into a major global recession, threatening all the SDGs.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, also joined into the discussion, saying "There can be no going back to business as usual."
(Image credits: AP)