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UNITED NATIONS, Apr 12 (APP):UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday called for an “equitable, sustainable and resilient” response to arrest the fallout from the deadly coronavirus pandemic and rebuild strengthened economies.

“Advancing an equitable global response and recovery from the pandemic is putting multilateralism to the test,” he told the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) forum on Financing for Development (FfD) on the opening day of its four-day session, which is being presided by the Council’s president, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan.

But the UN chief regretted that the international community has so far failed that test.

The high-level virtual meeting aims to underscore the urgency of the need for more audacious and concrete action to provide liquidity and address debt vulnerability.

In this regard, the secretary-general called for urgent action in six areas:
— Making vaccines available to all countries in need, closing the funding gap of the COVAX Facility and ensuring equitable access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere to beat the pandemic;

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— Reversing the fall in concessional financing, including in middle-income countries, with donors stepping up to provide urgently needed development assistance;

— Ensuring that funds go where they are needed most, and governments consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities;

— Addressing the debt crisis with debt suspension, relief, and liquidity for countries that need it, using new mechanisms to make use of debt swaps, buy-backs and cancellations; strengthening the international debt architecture; starting a time-bound, open dialogue with all stakeholders to build trust and transparency;

— Investing in people that requires a new social contract, based on solidarity and investments in education, decent and green jobs, social protection, and health systems;

— Relaunching economies in a sustainable and equitable manner, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

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Guterres said that while The COVID-19 pandemic was the most immediate challenge, climate change increasingly threatens the future of people and planet.

“We urgently need to implement policies and set targets and timelines to cut greenhouse gases and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – including mandatory climate disclosures and switching fossil fuel subsidies to renewable energy,” the UN chief said, while calling for the $100 billion commitment made a decade ago to be delivered immediately.

For many countries across the globe, particularly Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, he said the effects of climate change are a deadly reality.

“I urge all developed countries to increase their share of climate finance allocated to adaptation and resilience to 50 percent of the total,” he said.

“This Forum must provide ambition and momentum, to finance a resilient, inclusive, equitable and sustainable future for all.”