UN Secretary-General António Guterres - End-of-Year Virtual Press Encounter
Arguing that the world “cannot defeat a pandemic in an uncoordinated way”, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday that countries “must take concrete action in the coming days” to vaccinate 40 per cent of the world’s population by the end of the year.
Speaking to journalists in New York, António Guterres also asked Member States to be “far more ambitious” in their efforts to reach 70 per cent of people in all countries by the middle of 2022, a goal established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Secretary-General believes that “COVID-19 is not going away.”
“It is becoming clear that vaccines alone will not eradicate the pandemic. Vaccines are averting hospitalization and death for the majority who get them and slowing the spread. But transmissions show no sign of letting up. This is driven by vaccine inequity, hesitancy and complacency.”
“I am deeply worried. If things do not improve – and improve fast – we face even harder times ahead”, the Un chief warned.
Mr. Guterres also denounced “lopsided” recovery efforts, that are accelerating inequalities and increasing stresses on economies and societies.
For Mr. Guterres, “this is a powder keg for social unrest and instability” and poses “a clear and present danger to democratic institutions.”
Speaking about the response to the pandemic and the international financial system, the Secretary-General argued that they reveal governance failures that are also moral failures.
The Secretary-General is sure that the world knows “how to make 2022 a happier and more hopeful new year” but said that everyone “must do all it takes to make it happen.”
Finally, the UN chief mentioned his last visit of the year, that will take him this Saturday to Lebanon, a country “that is in the grip of all these challenges and worse.”