Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the United Kingdom Cabinet Office event themed “How can we ensure that no country is left behind in the fight against COVID-19”, held today:
In a year rocked by the novel coronavirus that infected 84 million people, devastated economies and laid bare humanity’s starkest inequalities, the Security Council — working through peacekeepers, aid workers and logistics experts on the ground — pressed forward with its mandate to protect civilians and build peace in the world’s most complex conflict zones.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said it is working to bolster the global response to the Fall Armyworm, considered one of the top 10 devastating plant pests, which places at risk up to 80 million metric tons of maize worth $18 billion per year in Africa, Asia and the Near East.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh and Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Lucia Elmi launched a $417 million Humanitarian Response Plan to help 1.8 million people over the coming year. The latest assessment found that 2.45 million Palestinians - 47 per cent of the population - need aid.
Delegates struck a cautiously hopeful note as the General Assembly completed its special session dedicated to the COVID‑19 pandemic, while stressing the need for multilateral approaches to distributing vaccines and mitigating the pandemic’s wide-ranging fallout.
Expert panellists addressed the General Assembly in the second day of an unprecedented special session dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far infected 65 million people and continues to claim 70,000 lives every week, citing possibly catastrophic global famine in the coming months, while also pointing hopefully towards imminent vaccines and their deployment.