In a statement, the Secretary-General said that, 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. 
It has been a year of empty office buildings, quiet streets and closed schools in much of the world. The Secretary-General commends women, men and young people everywhere for adapting to work, learn and live in new ways. He honours health workers for their dedication and sacrifice, and all other essential workers who have kept societies running. He salutes all those who have stood up to the deniers and disinformation and have followed science and safety protocols. You have helped save lives, the Secretary-General says.
With the vaccine roll-out, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Yet the Secretary-General is deeply concerned that many low-income countries have not yet received a single dose, while wealthier countries are on track to vaccinating their entire population. We’ve seen many examples of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding in wealthier countries — as well as continued side deals with manufacturers that undermine access for all.
He says that the global vaccination campaign represents the greatest moral test of our times. It is also essential to restart the global economy — and help the world move from locking down societies to locking down the virus.
COVID-19 vaccines must be seen as a global public good. The world needs to unite to produce and distribute sufficient vaccines for all, which means at least doubling manufacturing capacity around the world. That effort must start now. 

The Secretary-General today launched the “Only Together” campaign, which calls for COVID-19 vaccines to be available to everyone, everywhere.
He said in a video message that, now, with the promise of vaccines, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
But, the Secretary-General said, so far, a small number of rich countries are rolling out most of the doses.
No country can overcome this crisis in isolation, he said, pointing to COVAX as the best way to ensure that supply goes further, and distribution goes faster. 
The Secretary-General said that only together can we protect healthcare workers and the world’s most vulnerable people. Only together can we revive our economies. Only together can we end this pandemic and recover. 

Benin received more than 140,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday through the COVAX facility.
UN Resident Coordinator Salvator Niyonzima said this was a clear result of the power of multilateralism and international cooperation. Some 70,000 frontline health workers and the most vulnerable, including people over the age of 60 and those with co-morbidities, are at the top of the list for the vaccines. The UN team will work with authorities to mobilize the entire population for one of biggest national vaccination campaigns.
Peru also received an initial batch of nearly 120,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, becoming the second country in Latin America and the Caribbean to do so. The UN team welcomed the extraordinary result of international cooperation and solidarity, reiterating our support to a national vaccination campaign that leaves no one behind.
UN teams have been supporting health authorities with the logistics, preparation and distribution of all vaccines, not just those from COVAX.

This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council virtual debate on Food Security.
The Secretary-General said that he had one simple message, and that is: if you don’t feed people, you feed conflict. He also noted that hunger and poverty combine with inequality, climate shocks, sectarian and ethnic tensions, and grievances over land and resources, to spark and drive conflict.
The Secretary-General warned that without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death. He stressed that while all countries face some economic strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the solution does not lie in cutting aid to starving children.
The Secretary-General said that the disappointing outcome of last week’s High-Level Pledging Event on Yemen cannot become a pattern. He asked all countries to reconsider their responsibilities and their capacities.

The Secretary-General was deeply saddened to learn about the untimely death of Hamed Bakayoko, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. He extends his heartfelt condolences to Mr. Bakayoko’s family, as well as to the Government and people of Côte d'Ivoire. 
As Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Bakayoko was instrumental in advancing inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation efforts. 

In answer to questions, I can say that the Secretary-General welcomes the adoption of the Security Council’s Presidential Statement on Myanmar. The Council’s unity and continued engagement and action is crucial.  
The Secretary-General continues his efforts to mobilize a coherent international response, including through United Nations support to regional initiatives towards ending the violence and restoring democracy in Myanmar. His Special Envoy also remains closely engaged with all relevant parties. As the Council has highlighted, it is critical for the Special Envoy to visit Myanmar as soon as possible.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said today that as Syria is about to enter its 11th year of violence and conflict, the pursuit of truth, justice and reparations for victims must be stepped up,
She said that the violence that spiraled into an armed conflict has left hundreds of thousands of Syrians dead, millions displaced both within and outside the country, and many Syrian families struggling to establish the truth of what happened to their loved ones.
The Secretary-General marked the 10th year of the Syrian conflict in his press stakeout with you yesterday, and he said that after a decade of conflict, Syria has fallen off the front page. And yet the situation remains a living nightmare, he said.
The scale of the atrocities shocks the conscience, the Secretary-General said. Their perpetrators must be held to account if there is to be sustainable peace in Syria.
The commemoration of a decade of conflict in Syria will continue through the coming week, and Special Envoy Geir Pedersen will brief the Security Council about this next Monday.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the endorsement of an interim Government of National Unity by the Libyan House of Representatives as an important step towards restoring unity, stability, security and prosperity in Libya.

Peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan have repaired 300 kilometres of road between Juba and Rokon.
This is an important supply route for both the Mission and humanitarian partners to reach remote communities, particularly during the rainy season. This is part of the Mission’s plan to fix more than 3,000 kilometers of roads across the country in the coming months.
As part of its efforts to mark International Women’s Day, the Mission held a COVID-19 workshop with female inmates at Wau Central Prison on health and hygiene.
In Twic East County in Jonglei state, the Mission provided solar panels to a health centre that will provide around-the-clock power to its maternity ward.

The UN Mission in the Central African Republic is telling us that a majority of the people who had sought refuge on the premises of the Catholic Diocese in Bossangoa have returned home and resumed normal activities. People had started to arrive there on 21 February to seek safety following armed clashes. Peacekeepers continue to patrol in the town to ensure the protection of civilians. 
Meanwhile, in the lead-up to the second-round of legislative elections on Sunday, the Mission continues to monitor and support the technical, operational, institutional and security preparations. 
The Peacekeeping mission supported the national elections authorities during a training for local electoral staff from Batangafo, Kabo and Sido. This took place in Batangafo, in the Ouham Prefecture. 

The UN sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, today released new data saying that nearly 12 million women lost access to contraception due to disruptions caused by the pandemic. This led to some 1.4 million unintended pregnancies.
In the 115 low-and-middle-income countries studied, women faced an average disruption in their family planning services of 3.6 months over the past year, suggesting that many health [systems] were resilient enough to eventually adapt and continue to provide services. 
During this time, UNFPA worked with its partners and took immediate measures to mitigate its impact. The agency added more suppliers to its roster and closely monitored global inventory levels, transferring surplus stock to countries in urgent need, amongst other measures. As a result of quick action and collaboration, the disruption in access to family planning was less severe than it could have been.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization today said that it is seeking $1.1 billion in 2021 to save the lives and livelihoods of some of the world’s most food-insecure people. In 2021, FAO aims to reach more than 48.9 million people who rely on agriculture for their survival and livelihoods.
According to FAO’s latest data, the total number of people who experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2020 is expected to exceed 2019’s high of 135 million people.
FAO’s emergency response in 2021 will focus on providing assistance to highly food-insecure communities in more than 30 countries. These include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

You will remember our Chief Economist, Elliot Harris, briefed you a few days ago on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, a new framework that includes the contributions of nature when measuring economic prosperity and human well-being.
Today the framework was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission. It marks a major step that goes beyond the commonly used statistic of gross domestic product. This measure would ensure that natural capital —forests, wetlands and other ecosystems — are recognized in economic reporting.
The Secretary-General welcomed the adoption, saying it is an “historic step forward towards transforming how we view and value nature.” He added, “We will no longer be heedlessly allowing environmental destruction and degradation to be considered economic progress.”

Tomorrow at 11 a.m., we will be joined virtually by David Beasley, WFP’s Executive Director. As you know, he is just back from Yemen and he will brief you on his trip and answer your questions.
Our guests at noon tomorrow will be Elliott Harris, who we just mentioned, the Chief Economist, along with Anne Nuorgam, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. They will join virtually to brief on the launch of the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Volume V.

Monaco made its full payment to the regular budget. The number of fully paid-up Member States is now 69.