21 May 2020

Women-Led Countries Responded Better to COVID-19, Outperforming Those Run by Men, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Creative Diversity Dialogue “Build Back Better”

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the BBC creative diversity dialogue “Build Back Better”, on 21 May:

The world faces the most challenging human crisis since the Second World War.  The health of the people and our planet is under threat.  A virus and climate change are undermining the quest for an equal and just globalization.  Vulnerable populations are suffering from the devastating impact of COVID-19 on their jobs and livelihoods.  The pandemic further exacerbates difficulties that many people already face due to stigma and discrimination.

The current global response reveals clearly to us—that genuine diversity and inclusion are more important than ever if we are to leave no one behind.  A true diversity of voices and ideas produces better communities and workforces, allowing us to identify, prevent and respond to vulnerabilities, as we accelerate our vision into the future.

We need all voices to be heard, especially our youth.  This is true everywhere, including at the BBC.  Today, you have a great opportunity to share the science, the solutions and show what solidarity looks like from every vantage point.  And as we recover, you will have the rare ability to demonstrate what the new normal looks like — one that expects a diverse set of leaders with a diverse set of solutions, in a world where one size does not necessarily fit all.

Today, women have a key role to play.  There is evidence that countries led by women have responded better to the current crisis and are performing better than countries run by men.  In recovering better — we must not lose sight of this leadership that women can provide alongside men.

Communities will be the glue that keeps us together in our common human endeavour to thrive and survive in a new era of hope.  We must protect that glue by ensuring it is not adulterated by misinformation and hate.  The United Nations launched today our Verified campaign to support the “mis-infodemic” everywhere.

As we sow the seeds to shape our future beyond COVID-19, the Sustainable Development Goals remain the best road map to recover better from this crisis.  I count on businesses, the creative industry and all of you to contribute to these Goals and bring us closer to achieving a more sustainable and equal world.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.