The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for global solidarity and greater international cooperation, and must be turned into an opportunity for fundamental change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a keynote address to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum on Friday.
The event was held the day after the UN World Food Programme (WFP) officially received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its lifesaving work assisting millions of hungry people across the globe.
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown above all the urgent need for human solidarity”, the UN chief said in a video message for the virtual event. “We can only tackle shared threats through shared resolve.”
The Nobel discussion focused on multilateralism and global governance in the aftermath of the pandemic, which has affected practically every corner of the planet.
The ever-growing economic and social fallout means the world is facing the biggest global recession in 80 years, rising levels of extreme poverty, and looming famine.
The Secretary-General called for a “reset”.
“We cannot respond to this crisis by going back to what was, or withdrawing into national shells. We need more international cooperation and stronger international institutions,” he stated.
Mr. Guterres used the speech to reiterate policies he has pressed for throughout the crisis.
Just days after the pandemic was declared, the Secretary-General issued an appeal for a global ceasefire, urging warring parties to “silence the guns” and focus on fighting the virus.
“I am encouraged by the support this call has received – and by the positive response by governments to my call for peace in homes around the world and an end to violence against women and girls”, he said.
Looking beyond the pandemic, the UN chief saw other areas for global concern, and thus the need for greater global cooperation and governance.