Aligning Legislative, Spending Decisions with Climate Action Key to Recovering from COVID-19 Pandemic, Secretary-General Tells Speakers of Parliament

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Aligning Legislative, Spending Decisions with Climate Action Key to Recovering from COVID-19 Pandemic, Secretary-General Tells Speakers of Parliament
19 August 2020
SG/SM/20213
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the opening of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) World Conference of Speakers of Parliament on the theme:  “Parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet”, in New York:
…First, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic.  We face an unprecedented disaster, from economic wreckage to an education deficit imperiling an entire generation, from the aggravation of humanitarian crises to the deepening of already troubling infringements of human rights.  We have surpassed 21 million cases and 770,000 deaths — and the toll continues to grow and even accelerate in some places.
The United Nations family is working across many fronts to save lives, control transmission of the virus, ease the fallout and recover better.  We have shipped personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to more than 130 countries.  We continue to press for a global ceasefire and to fight the plague of misinformation.
Across the weeks, we have issued analysis and policy recommendations spanning the full range of affected countries, sectors, issues and populations.  From the beginning, the United Nations has been calling for massive global support for the most vulnerable people and countries — a rescue package amounting to at least 10 per cent of the global economy.  We are also supporting work to accelerate research and development for a people’s vaccine, affordable and accessible to all.
As we address the emergency today, we must learn its many lessons for tomorrow.  Even before the virus, our societies were on shaky footing, with rising inequalities, worsening degradation of the environment, shrinking civic space, inadequate public health and untenable social frictions rooted in governance failures and a lack of opportunities.
The pandemic has spotlighted these injustices in especially stark terms.  It has also exposed the world’s fragilities in general.  And so, we cannot go back to what was, but rather must turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future…