UN chief stresses importance of multilateralism amid COVID-19 pandemic

UN chief stresses importance of multilateralism amid COVID-19 pandemic

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of multilateralism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message for the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, which falls on April 24, Guterres on Friday said the COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic reminder of how deeply connected the world is, reported Xinhua news agency.

“The virus knows no borders and is a quintessential global challenge. Combating it requires us to work together as one human family,” he said. “We must do all we can to save lives and ease the economic and social devastation. Crucially, we need to draw the appropriate lessons about the vulnerabilities and inequalities the virus has laid bare, and mobilize investments in education, health systems, social protection and resilience.”

COVID-19 is the biggest international challenge since World War II. Yet even before this test, the world was facing other profound transnational perils — climate change above all, he said.

Guterres asked for networked and inclusive multilateralism in the new global situation. “It is not enough to proclaim the virtues of multilateralism. We must continue to show its added value. International cooperation must adapt to changing times.”

There is a need for a networked multilateralism that strengthens coordination among all global multilateral organisations, with regional ones able to make their vital contributions. There is also a need for an inclusive multilateralism based on deep interaction with civil society, businesses, local and regional authorities and other stakeholders, according to the UN chief.

Multilateralism is not only a matter of confronting shared threats. It is about seizing common opportunities, said Guterres. “We now have the opportunity to build back better than in the past, aiming at inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.”

At this key moment for international cooperation, there is a need for the whole world to strive as one toward a healthy, equitable, peaceful and more sustainable future for all, he said.

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