As U.N. General Assembly Gathers Virtually For 75th Meeting, SG Guterres Calls For Political Will Among International Community To Address COVID-19, Achieve SDGs

AP: Pandemic retools diplomacy as world leaders gather virtually
“With COVID-19 still careening across the planet, the annual gathering of its leaders in New York will be replaced this year by a global patchwork of prerecorded speeches, another piece of upheaval in a deeply divided world turned topsy-turvy by a pandemic with no endpoint in sight. As U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres put it: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis unlike any in our lifetimes, and so this year’s General Assembly session will be unlike any other, too.’ This is the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations that there will be no in-person meeting…” (Lederer, 9/19).

Devex: U.N. chief: ‘We are in trouble, and we need to change course’
“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres sees two potential scenarios playing out in the global response to COVID-19. In the first scenario, wealthy nations — led by the G-20 — will find a way to deliver meaningful debt relief to low- and middle-income countries, ‘seriously mobilize the liquidities necessary to support the developing world,’ and lead an effort to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is a ‘people’s vaccine.’ … In the other scenario, those things do not happen — lower-income countries are left to fend largely for themselves, and there is no effective global coordination of vaccine production and distribution. Guterres projects that such an approach would lead to a long cycle — ‘five to seven years’ — of social and economic disruption. … The conclusion, for Guterres, is that, ‘it’s time to put our act together’…” (Igoe, 9/21).

Xinhua: U.N. chief calls for political will for Sustainable Development Goals
“United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday called for political will and bold action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Public appetite for transformative change is growing, he said in his opening remarks at the SDG Moment 2020. ‘But one critical ingredient is still missing: political will. Without it, neither public appetite nor stakeholder action will be sufficient’…” (9/19).

Additional coverage of the 75th U.N. General Assembly meeting, progress on the SDGs, and U.N. diplomacy is available from Devex, The Guardian, and U.N. News (2) (3).

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