UNITED NATIONS, Sep 25 (APP): U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has decried the lack of international cooperation in tackling the still “out-of-control” coronavirus, and called for strengthening multilateralism and building trust among the countries to combat the pandemic.
The dangerous mix of high geo-political tensions and complex threats to peace, now complicated by COVID-19, demands innovative thinking on global governance and multilateralism, he said while briefing the UN Security Council via video link.
He told the 15-member Council that the tiny microscopic virus is now the number one threat in our world.’ He blamed a lack of global preparedness, cooperation, unity and solidarity for the international community’s failure.
The council met Thursday on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders ” both held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guterres pointed to the nearly one million deaths and 30 million infections around the world and warned that the coronavirus remains out of control.
“As countries go in different directions, the virus goes in every direction,” he said.
Guterres called for global cooperation among nations, global and regional organizations, international financial institutions, trade alliances and others. He said the idea of global governance must be broadened ‘to take in businesses, civil society, cities and regions, academia and young people.’
He said COVID-19 is a warning ‘that must spur us to action.’
‘We have no choice,’ he said. ‘Either we come together in global institutions that are fit for purpose, or we will be crushed by divisiveness and chaos.
Convened by Niger, in its capacity as the President of the Council for the month of September, the summit-level event discussed reforms to global governance in the context of peace and security, against the backdrop of the pandemic.
The meeting was chaired by Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of the Niger.
Alongside the responsibility of the UN to improve the effectiveness of global governance, Member States also have an equally important role in forging collective action to common challenges.
Conflict, human rights abuses, humanitarian crises, and stalled progress on development, reinforce each other and are interlinked, while global response is more and more fragmented, Guterres warned.
The Secretary-General highlighted the partnership between the African Union (AU) and UN as a model to be emulated in relationships with other regional organizations, recalling the African Union-United Nations framework on peace and security on the continent.
He called on the Security Council to deepen engagement by creating strong, formalized links and regular communications with the AU’s Peace and Security Council.
Doing so would enable the effective division of labour, allowing for AU peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations, backed by Security Council mandates, with predictable funding, guaranteed by assessed contributions.
“That is the only way we will build the coalition we need to beat terrorism on the African continent and fulfil the African Union’s flagship initiative to Silence the Guns,” he said.