• Mon. Sep 20th, 2021

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Recovery from COVID-19 has to reinvent economies, societies and establish new social contracts

ByMicheal Johnson

Sep 23, 2020

In the year that the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary, the General secretary drew a parallel between the complicated world situation that served to raise the foundations of the Organization, with the current difficulties that the planet is going through due to the coronavirus pandemic.

António Guterres asked countries to reinvent economies and societies and create a new social contract

“We are facing a pivotal moment,” Guterres said during the opening session of the high-level debate of the General Assembly.

“Those who built the United Nations 75 years ago experienced a pandemic, a global depression, a genocide and a world war. They knew the cost of discord and the value of unity. They created a visionary response, embodied in our founding Charter, people-centered”, He indicated.

Therefore, he stressed that three quarters of a century later and with the coronavirus spreading “we are in front of our own 1945”. A crisis that is “unlike any other we have seen”, but which, at the same time, could happen again in the future.

“COVID-19 is not just a wake-up call, is a dress rehearsal for the global challenges to come“, So we must continue with humility and recognize”that a microscopic virus has brought the world to its knees”.

Faced with this scenario, he recalled the failure of populism and nationalism, which have proven to worsen already critical situations, and called for unity, to act in solidarity, to be guided by science and to be connected to reality.

“In an interconnected world, the time has come to recognize a simple truth: solidarity is based on self-interest. If we do not understand that fact, everyone will lose out, “he said.

Global ceasefire

In his speech, the Secretary General referred to the long-standing and recent conflicts that plague many countries and reiterated his call for a global ceasefire so that the efforts of all governments and societies focus on combating the pandemic. .

He added that although his initial call for a ceasefire had the support of 180 states, numerous armed groups and a wide range of the social spectrum in all countries, major obstacles remain to be eliminated, including mistrust, the presence of disruptive elements and the weight of many years of bitter struggle.

“Today I call for a new effort by the international community to make the ceasefire a reality before the end of the year. We have exactly 100 days. During a pandemic, conflicts have only one winner: the virus itself, “he said.

Recover the economy

Guterres affirmed that in today’s globalized reality, economies cannot function with an out-of-control pandemic where only developed countries were able to help their own communities.

We must ensure that the developing world does not fall into financial ruin, growing poverty and debt crises. We need a collective commitment to avoid a downward spiral, “he warned.

In this context, he added that next week he will meet with world leaders to seek solutions to this crisis at a Meeting on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19.

A new social contract is missing

The Secretary General indicated that, apart from immediate response, recovery efforts should lead us to a better future that serves to reinvent economies and societies.

A restoration of which we already have the plans: the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

“Recovery needs to build resilience capacity. That it requires both a new social contract at the national level and a new global agreement ”, he pointed out.

Regarding a new social contract, Guterres explained that “it consists of building inclusive and sustainable societies.”

He stressed that in this new social contract, countries must implement the transition to renewable energy to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. With this objective, he asked them to consider six environmental actions while rescuing and rebuilding their economies :

  • Make societies more resilient and ensure a just transition.
  • Create green jobs and sustainable growth.
  • Condition the bailouts of industry, aviation and maritime transport to the fulfillment of the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
  • End fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Consider climate risks in all financial and political decisions.
  • Work together, leaving no one behind.

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