UN Secretary-General António Guterres stands in TV studio with Melissa Fleming holding a script and a technician in the background.
Secretary-General António Guterres (left) speaks with Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, in the UNTV studio ahead of a virtual press briefing on the ongoing global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

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

Policy Brief: COVID-19 and People on the Move (3 June 2020)
Statement: The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to reimagine human mobility

Mental Health

Policy brief: COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health (13 May 2020)
Statement: Mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19
(Download EPUB file)*

Human Rights

Policy brief: COVID-19 and Human Rights: We are all in this together  (23 April 2020) 
Statement: We are all in this Together: Human Rights and COVID-19 Response and Recovery
(Download EPUB file)*


Debt and COVID-19: A Global Response in Solidarity (17 April 2020)
(Download EPUB file)*

Socio-economic impact

Policy brief: Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 (31 March 2020)
Statement: The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy
(Download EPUB file)*
A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 
(Download EPUB file)*
The Secretary-General’s UN Response and Recovery Fund 
(Download EPUB file)*

Vulnerable populations

Persons with disabilities

Policy brief: A disability-inclusive response to COVID-19  (6 May 2020)
Statement: We have a unique opportunity to design and implement more inclusive and accessible societies
Download the easy to read MS Word document
(Download EPUB file)*
Watch Executive Summary (International Sign Language)

Older persons

Policy brief: The impact of COVID-19 on older persons (1 May 2020)
Statement: Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people
(Download EPUB file)*


Policy brief: The impact of COVID-19 on children (16 April 2020)
Statement: Protect our children
(Download EPUB file)*


Policy brief: The impact of COVID-19 on women (9 April 2020)
Statement: Put women and girls at the centre of efforts to recover from COVID-19
(Download EPUB file)*



Policy brief: Impact of COVID-19 in Africa (20 May 2020)
Statement: Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative


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Communications to Member States


Secretary-General António Guterres speaks online with a former Syrian refugee, cardiologist Dr. Heval Kelli.
3 JUNE 2020

"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
21 MAY 2020 

"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. 


Secretary-General António Guterres at a podium with poster on African women's empowerment behind him
20 MAY 2020

"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
13 MAY 2020

"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
8 MAY 2020

"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.
6 MAY 2020 

"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.
30 APRIL 2020

"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
30 APRIL 2020

"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.
23 APRIL 2020

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.
16 APRIL 2020

"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
14 APRIL 2020

"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
11 APRIL 2020 

"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.
9 APRIL 2020

"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.  


8 APRIL 2020

“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
5 APRIL 2020 

"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
3 APRIL 2020 

"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
2 APRIL 2020 

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
31 MARCH 2020

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

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.
26 MARCH 2020

"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.
25 MARCH 2020

"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.
23 MARCH 2020 

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

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.  

Secretary-General António Guterres
19 MARCH 2020 

"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
13 MARCH 2020 

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.