Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
In its latest report on performance assessment for 2020, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the sad fact that in the past year, 100 million people around the world have been pulled back into extreme poverty, causing the global poverty index to rise again for the first time since 1998. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed back achievements against poverty across the world by a decade. In places of constant conflict, like Africa, poverty has even been returned to levels of 30 years ago. Economic recession has led to food crises in many areas.
The pandemic has pushed the world economy into serious recession, even paralysed many economies. Developed countries have faced accumulated difficulties while poor countries are more miserable. The economic recession, in addition to inflationary expenditures serving the efforts to fight the pandemic, has pushed many poor countries deeper into debt that was already very serious in the pre-COVID-19 period. Socio-economic difficulties have hampered the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in many countries.
Promoting the implementation of the SDGs is one of the top goals set by the UN on the 2020 agenda. Therefore, urgent calls have been made by the UN to urge the international community, especially rich and developed countries, to support poor countries in their fight against the pandemic and to help them recover their economies. The UN Chief repeatedly affirmed the ned for support and urged international creditors to accelerate and expand debt reduction and relief for poor countries. The message was repeated many times that in a community, only solidarity and mutual assistance can achieve common goals.
In the context of a raging epidemic, conflicts and persistent crises, the UN Secretary-General has called for a global ceasefire to focus on fighting the epidemic and resolving the multidimensional crisis caused thereby. The UN leader’s call has been responded to by nearly 180 countries, more than 20 armed groups, and 800 social organisations. Difficulties caused by the pandemic have not hindered peacekeeping activities, this mission that has always been upheld and promoted by the UN. More than 40 missions, with about 95,000 UN staff members, have remained on duty to assist people in conflict zones around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the many non-traditional challenges that humanity is facing. The pandemic crisis has revealed shortcomings and inequalities in global health and social security systems. The UN has been at the forefront of raising concerns about “vaccine nationalism”, and exerted efforts to promote equitable and broad access for all countries to the COVID-19 vaccine. In its first international effort, the UN General Assembly on December 7 approved Resolution A/RES/75/27 proclaiming December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness at its 75th session.
The UN’s effort to promote solidarity and international cooperation has been supported and appreciated by its member countries. During these recent times of multidimensional crisis, the UN has always maintained a pioneering mission, proving to be the largest multilateral organisation on the planet, with the capacity of taking the leading role in responding to and addressing global challenges.