From the UN Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has launched a series of policy briefs that lay out a vision for how the international community can deliver an effective, coordinated response to COVID-19, ensuring we keep the most vulnerable populations front and centre. The policy briefs bring together analysis from across the UN system and provide Member States with concrete ideas for how to address the consequences and even seize opportunities in the midst of the crisis. We continue to add new briefs below.
People on the Move
Statement: The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to reimagine human mobility
Statement: Mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19
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Persons with disabilities
Statement: We have a unique opportunity to design and implement more inclusive and accessible societies
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Watch Executive Summary (International Sign Language)
Statement: Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people
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Statement: Put women and girls at the centre of efforts to recover from COVID-19
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Statement: Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative
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Communications to Member States
- 4 June 2020 - Video message to Global Vaccine Summit
- 3 June 2020 - Remarks to Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States
- 2 June 2020 - Remarks to the Yemen Pledging Conference
- 28 May 2020 - Closing remarks to High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond
- 28 May 2020 - Remarks to High-Level Event on Financing for Development
- 22 May 2020 - Remarks to OIC Member States on "COVID-19 Solidarity: Promoting Co-Existence and Shared Responsibility"
- 20 May 2020 - Remarks to the Africa Dialogue Series on COVID-19 and Silencing the Guns in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
- 19 May 2020 - Remarks to the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment
- 18 May 2020 - Remarks to the World Health Assembly
- 12 May 2020 - Remarks at high-level video conference entitled "The Role of Religious Leaders in Addressing the Multiple Challenges of COVID-19" (video of remarks)
- 4 May 2020 - Message to summit-level meeting of Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to COVID-19
- 4 May 2020 - Remarks to High-Level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 Context
- 4 May 2020 - Remarks at on-line pledging event for Coronavirus Global Response: Joining Forces to Accelerate the Development Production and Equitable Access to new COVID Vaccines, Diagnostics and Therapeutics
- 24 April 2020 - Remarks at the launch of the Statement of Commitment and Call for Support for the Global Collaboration to Accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New COVID-19 Tools
- 23 April 2020 - Remarks to the ECOSOC Forum on Financing Sustainable Development in the Context of COVID-19
- 17 April 2020 - Remarks to virtual IMF/World Bank High-level Meeting Mobilizing with Africa
- 16 April 2020 - Remarks at virtual meeting with the African Group
- 9 April 2020 - Remarks to the Security Council on the COVID-19 pandemic
- 27 March 2020 - Briefing to Member States on the Organization's Response to COVID-19
- 23 March 2020 -
Communications to the Press
Virtual press encounter on COVID-19 Crisis (19 March 2020)
UN Chief on the release of the updated COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (10 May 2020)
A Time to Save the Sick and Rescue the Planet (28 April 2020)
Communications to Staff
Secretary-General’s message to staff (23 April 2020)
Secretary-General’s message to UN personnel (17 March 2020)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19. The virus does not care about race or nationality, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.
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.
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.