UN Secretary-General António Guterres stands in TV studio with Melissa Fleming holding a script and a technician in the background.

From the UN Secretary-General

UN Response

The UN Secretary-General has launched the UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19 to save lives, protect societies, recover better. As part of the response, the UN Secretary-General is issuing policy briefs to provide ideas to governments on how to address the consequences of this crisis.

Communications to Member States

Communications to the Press

Opening remarks at virtual joint press conference to launch the World Health Organization’s Global Vaccination Strategy, with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 7 October 2021

Opening remarks at virtual press conference at the G7 Summit, UK, 11 June 2021

Opening remarks at joint press conference on High-Level Event on Debt and Liquidity with Prime Ministers Andrew Holness (Jamaica) and Justin Trudeau (Canada), 29 March 2021 (video)

Opening remarks to the press following briefing to member states priorities for 2021, 28 January 2021

Opening remarks at press briefing prior to the G20 Summit, 20 November 2020

Press Conference on the launch of the UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19, 25 June 2020

Opening remarks at joint press conference on the High-level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond, 28 May 2020

Press Briefing, 30 April 2020: VideoTranscript | News story

Press briefing to update on Appeal for A Global Ceasefire following the Outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) (3 April 2020)

Virtual press encounter to launch the Report on the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 (31 March 2020) 

Virtual press encounter on COVID-19 Crisis (19 March 2020)

Opinion Pieces




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Communications to Staff

Secretary-General’s message to staff (23 April 2020)

Read the message

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks with hospital worker
António Guterres

Only together can we end this pandemic and recover

One full year into the COVID-19 pandemic, our world has faced a tsunami of suffering. So many lives have been lost. Economies have been upended and societies left reeling. The most vulnerable have suffered the most. Those left behind are being left even further behind. 


Secretary-General looking up next to the UN flag.
António Guterres

2 million COVID-19 deaths: “Our world can only get ahead of this virus one way - together”

Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone: the COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed two million lives. In his video message, Secretary-General António Guterres encourages global solidarity to save lives, protect people and help defeat this vicious virus.

Secretary-General António Guterres at a podium with COVID-19 poster
António Guterres

Stronger health systems and Universal Health Coverage must be a priority

Nearly a year into the pandemic, we face a human tragedy, and a public health, humanitarian and development emergency. For the first time since 1945, the entire world is confronted by a common threat, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or faith. But while COVID-19 does not discriminate, our efforts to prevent and contain it do. For that reason, the pandemic has hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies hardest.


Генеральный секретарь выступает на подиуме из черного мрамора с золотой эмблемой ООН.
António Guterres

Corruption is the ultimate betrayal of public trust

Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. It is even more damaging in times of crisis – as the world is experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we must create more robust systems for accountability, transparency and integrity without delay. 

mother and child on the beach
António Guterres

"Scale up investment in Universal Health Coverage and in stronger health systems"

Nine months since we first heard of COVID-19, the pandemic has claimed more than one million lives and infected more than 30 million people in 190 countries. Infections are rising and there are troubling signs of new waves. Much about the virus remains unknown. But one basic fact is clear: the world was not prepared.


Secretary-General António Guterres addressing the General Assembly
António Guterres

"We must never lose sight of each and every individual life"

Our world has reached an agonizing milestone:  the loss of one million lives from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a mind-numbing figure.  Yet we must never lose sight of each and every individual life. They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues.


A health worker checking tying her facemask.
António Guterres

UN Plan to save lives, protect societies and recover better

This updated UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19 report provides an overview of the data, analysis, policy recommendations and concrete support that the UN has made available to states and communities to cope with the health, socio-economic, humanitarian and human rights impacts of COVID-19.

street with umbrellas hanging
António Guterres

"It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector"

Tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors. It employs one in every ten people on Earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more. It boosts economies and enables countries to thrive. It allows people to experience some of the world’s cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity. That is why it has been so painful to see how tourism has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Niños a los que se les controla la temperatura y se les instruye en el uso de desinfectante para manos
António Guterres

"The future of education is here"

Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities. It is the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies, and a primary driver of sustainable development. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education ever. 



Health workers demonstrate proper handwashing to a child wearing a mask.
António Guterres

"Target women in all aspects of economic recovery and stimulus plans in Southeast Asia"

As in other parts of the world, the health, economic and political impact of COVID-19 has been significant across Southeast Asia — hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. The pandemic has highlighted deep inequalities, shortfalls in governance and the imperative for a sustainable development pathway.

busy sidewalk
António Guterres

COVID-19 in an Urban World

Urban areas are ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 90 per cent of reported cases. Cities are bearing the brunt of the crisis – many with strained health systems, inadequate water and sanitation services, and other challenges. This is especially the case in poorer areas, where the pandemic has exposed deeply rooted inequalities. But cities are also home to extraordinary solidarity and resilience.


A volunteer provides food to a child in a residential neighbourhood
António Guterres

COVID-19 and the Arab Region: An Opportunity to Build Back Better

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines, fissures and fragilities in societies and economies around the world – and the Arab region is no exception. The region is blessed with tremendous diversity and potential.  Yet all Arab countries – whether oil-rich, middle-income or least developed – face difficulties in responding.

Secretary-General António Guterres at podium with Nelson Mandela portrait in the background
António Guterres

Tackling Inequality: A New Social Contract for a New Era

On Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. In his speech the Secretary-General took aim at the various layers of inequality that are being exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Secretary-General António Guterres on screen with background of SDGs
António Guterres

Building back better requires transforming the development model of Latin America and the Caribbean

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean have become a hotspot of the pandemic.  In a context of already gaping inequalities, high levels of informal labour and fragmented health services, the most vulnerable populations and individuals are once again being hit the hardest.

Secretary-General António Guterres on screen in front of bigger screen with UN Charter photos
António Guterres

Global Wake-Up Call

From COVID-19 to climate disruption, from racial injustice to rising inequalities, we are a world in turmoil.  At the same time, we are an international community with an enduring vision – embodied in the United Nations Charter, which marks its 75th anniversary this year.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaking at a podium
António Guterres

"The world of work cannot and should not look the same after this crisis"

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down. Every worker, every business and every corner of the globe has been affected. Hundreds of millions of jobs have been lost.


Secretary-General António Guterres participates in a meeting remotely.
António Guterres

"We need to act now to avoid the worst impacts of our efforts to control the pandemic"

There is more than enough food in the world to feed our population of 7.8 billion people. But, today, more than 820 million people are hungry. And some 144 million children under the age of 5 are stunted – more than one in five children worldwide. Our food systems are failing, and the Covid-19 pandemic is making things worse. 

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks online with a former Syrian refugee, cardiologist Dr. Heval Kelli.
António Guterres

"The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to reimagine human mobility"

COVID-19 continues to devastate lives and livelihoods around the globe — hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. This is particularly true for millions of people on the move — such as refugees and internally displaced persons who are forced to flee their homes from violence or disaster, or migrants in precarious situations.

health worker educating public
António Guterres

"Good communication saves lives"

The United Nations is launching ‘Verified’, an initiative to combat the growing scourge of COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information. Verified, led by the UN Department for Global Communications (DGC), will provide information around three themes: science – to save lives; solidarity – to promote local and global cooperation; and solutions – to advocate for support to impacted populations. It will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger.

Secretary-General António Guterres at a podium with poster on African women's empowerment behind him
António Guterres

"Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative"

As COVID-19 spreads across the continent, Africa has responded swiftly to the pandemic, and as of now reported cases are lower than feared.  Even so, much hangs in the balance. 


Secretary-General António Guterres in a video call
António Guterres

"Mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19"

Mental health is at the core of our humanity. It enables us to lead rich and fulfilling lives and to participate in our communities. But the COVID-19 virus is not only attacking our physical health; it is also increasing psychological suffering.  


Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at a meeting
António Guterres

"We must act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate"

COVID-19 does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction.  We need every ounce of solidarity to tackle it together.  Yet the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at a meeting.
António Guterres

"We have a unique opportunity to design and implement more inclusive and accessible societies"

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every aspect of our societies, revealing the extent of exclusion that the most marginalized members of society experience. Today, I would like to highlight how the pandemic is affecting the world’s 1 billion people with disabilities.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks to British centenarian online.
António Guterres

"Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people"

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world. The fatality rate for older people is higher overall, and for those over 80, it is five times the global average. Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation.


women carrying boxes of emergency supplies
António Guterres

"The pandemic is exposing and exploiting inequalities of all kinds, including gender inequality"

Early signs are that the COVID-19 virus poses a greater direct health risk to men, and particularly older men. But the pandemic is exposing and exploiting inequalities of all kinds, including gender inequality. In the long term, its impact on women’s health, rights and freedoms could harm us all.


Secretary-General António Guterres standing at podium with other UN officials behind him.
António Guterres

We are all in this Together: Human Rights and COVID-19 Response and Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency — but it is far more. It is an economic crisis.  A social crisis.  And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis. Today, I am releasing a report highlighting how human rights can and must guide COVID-19 response and recovery.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaking at a panel.
António Guterres

"Protect our children"

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, we are seeing an alarming pattern. The poorest and most vulnerable members of society are being hardest hit, both by the pandemic and the response. I am especially concerned about the well-being of the world’s children.

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

"This is a time for science and solidarity"

As the world fights the deadly COVID-19 pandemic – the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War – we are also seeing another epidemic -- a dangerous epidemic of misinformation. Around the world, people are scared. They want to know what to do and where to turn for advice. This is a time for science and solidarity.  Yet the global ‘misinfo-demic’ is spreading.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at a religious service
António Guterres

"Let us renew our faith in one another"

Today, I want to make a special appeal to religious leaders of all faiths to join forces to work for peace around the world and focus on our common battle to defeat COVID19. I do so at a special time on the spiritual calendar. For Christians, it is the celebration of Easter.  Jews are marking Passover.  And soon, Muslims will begin the holy month of Ramadan. I extend my warmest wishes to all those observing these important moments.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaking at a meeting.
António Guterres

"Put women and girls at the centre of efforts to recover from COVID-19"

The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere. But the pandemic is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls. Today we are launching a report that shows how COVID-19 could reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights – and recommends ways to put women’s leadership and contributions at the heart of resilience and recovery.  

António Guterres

“Now is the time for unity”

The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges this world has faced in our lifetime. It is above all a human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences. The World Health Organization, with thousands of its staff, is on the front lines, supporting Member States and their societies, especially the most vulnerable among them, with guidance, training, equipment and concrete life-saving services as they fight the virus.  

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

"Make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of national response plans for COVID-19"

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold human suffering and economic devastation around the world. I recently called for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on our shared struggle to overcome the pandemic. I appealed for an end to violence everywhere, now. But violence is not confined to the battlefield. For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes.

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

"To silence the guns, we must raise the voices for peace"

This note provides an update on the responses to my appeal for a Global Ceasefire of 23 March 2020. It documents the broad international support with which this appeal has been greeted, the response by conflict parties in a number of situations of armed conflict and the efforts on the ground by United Nations representatives and other actors to press forward and try to consolidate fragile advances towards laying down weapons. 

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

All hands on deck to fight a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic

Only by coming together will the world be able to face down the COVID-19 pandemic and its shattering consequences. At an emergency virtual meeting last Thursday, G20 leaders took steps in the right direction.  But we are still far away from having a coordinated, articulated global response that meets the unprecedented magnitude of what we are facing. We must prepare for the worst and do everything to avoid it.  Here is a three-point call to action -- based on science, solidarity and smart policies -- for doing just that.

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

"The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy"

31 MARCH 2020—The new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is attacking societies at their core, claiming lives and people’s livelihoods. The potential longer-term effects on the global economy and those of individual countries are dire. In a new report, Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, the United Nations Secretary-General calls on everyone to act together to address this impact and lessen the blow to people. 

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks to dignitaries.
António Guterres

"This war needs a war-time plan to fight it"

We are at war with a virus – and not winning it. It took the world three months to reach 100,000 confirmed cases of infection. The next 100,000 happened in just 12 days. The third took four days. The fourth, just one and a half. This is exponential growth and only the tip of the iceberg.  

Young woman follows the virtual briefing on screen.
António Guterres

"This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable"

COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.

Secretary-General António Guterres holds videoconference.
António Guterres

"The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war"

Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a global ceasefire, so that the world can concentrate its efforts on the response against the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives,” he said in a live virtual briefing on 23 March. 

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

"This is, above all, a human crisis that calls for solidarity"

We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives.

Secretary-General António Guterres
António Guterres

COVID-19: We will come through this together

The upheaval caused by the coronavirus – COVID-19 -- is all around us.  And I know many are anxious, worried and confused.  That’s absolutely natural. We are facing a health threat unlike any other in our lifetimes.