It is a pleasure to greet the many good friends of the United Nations attending this timely dialogue. Across the years, I have had much fruitful collaboration with the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, and I welcome our continued partnership at this time of test for the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated lives, economies and communities everywhere. It has led to an alarming surge in violence against women and girls, and is jeopardizing our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The United Nations continues to push for a massive rescue package for the world’s most vulnerable people and countries, and for a vaccine that is affordable and available to all – a people’s vaccine. We are also pressing for a global cease-fire to focus on our common enemy: the virus.
The pandemic has also exacerbated many longstanding inequalities, and exposed global fragilities more generally. Recovery is an opportunity to reimagine our course. We need to forge a New Social Contract within countries, with greater resilience, social cohesion and social protection. And we need a New Global Deal among countries that ensures a fair globalization, a more equitable sharing of power and effective global governance.
COVID-19 is also a wake-up call about climate change. As countries rebuild and reset their economies, we must accelerate the transition to renewable energy and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Stimulus plans and spending must be aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
At this foundational moment, the United Nations appreciates the endorsement by WLA-Club de Madrid of the 75th anniversary Declaration adopted by Member States. I welcome your efforts on addressing climate change and transforming global economic governance. Let me also mention the efforts of your Policy Lab to advance digital cooperation so that the world can reap the benefits of digital technologies and artificial intelligence while safeguarding privacy and human rights.
Your leadership experience and engagement on global issues gives you a valuable perspective. I look forward to working with all of you to overcome the virus and build a future of peace, dignity and sustainable development for all on a healthy planet.