UN chief calls for Security Council unit on COVID-19

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked for the COVID-19 pandemic unit.

The Security Council's commitment will be critical in mitigating the peace and security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it told the council in a virtual briefing on Thursday, the Xinhua news agency reported.

In fact, a sign of unity and determination from the council would count a lot in this moment of anxiety.

To prevail against the pandemic, the world will need to work together. That means greater solidarity, and it means having the necessary resources, Guterres said.

The financial situation of the United Nations It remains dangerous, and has only enough cash to finance peacekeeping operations until the end of June and has no ability to pay troop and police contributing countries, he said.

Although COVID-19 is primarily a health crisis, its implications are much broader, he warned.

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We are already seeing its ruinous social and economic impacts as governments around the world struggle to find the most effective responses to rising unemployment and the economic downturn. But the pandemic also represents a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security. potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease.

In his briefing via videoconference, Guterres reminded the Security Council of eight concerns under its purview: the maintenance of international peace and security.

First, the pandemic threatens to further erode confidence in public institutions, particularly if citizens perceive that their authorities mishandled the response or are not transparent about the extent of the crisis.

Second, the economic consequences of this crisis could create significant stressors, particularly in fragile societies, least developed countries and in transition. Economic instability will have particularly devastating impacts for women, who constitute the vast majority of the most affected sectors. The large number of female-headed households in conflict situations are especially vulnerable to economic shocks.

Third, the postponement of elections or referendums, or the decision to proceed with a vote, even with mitigation measures, can create political tensions and undermine legitimacy. Such decisions are best made after extensive consultation aimed at consensus. This is not a time for political opportunism.

Fourth, in some conflict settings, the uncertainty created by the pandemic can create incentives for some actors to promote further division and turmoil. This could lead to an escalation of violence and possibly devastating miscalculations, which could further underpin ongoing wars and complicate efforts to combat the pandemic.

Fifth, the threat of terrorism is still alive. Terrorist groups may see an opportunity to attack as the attention of most governments turns to the pandemic.

Sixth, the weaknesses and lack of preparedness exposed by this pandemic provide a window on how a bioterrorist attack could develop and increase its risks. Non-state groups could gain access to virulent strains that could pose a similar devastation to societies around the world.

Seventh, the crisis has hampered international, regional and national conflict resolution efforts, exactly when they are most needed. Many peace processes have stalled as the world responds to COVID-19. Movement restrictions may continue to affect the work of various trust-based mechanisms, as well as the ability to engage in crisis diplomacy to reduce potential conflicts.

Eighth, the pandemic is triggering or exacerbating various human rights challenges. We are seeing stigma, hate speech, and white supremacists and other extremists seeking to exploit the situation. We witness discrimination in access to health services. Refugees and internally displaced persons are particularly vulnerable. And there are growing manifestations of authoritarianism, including limits to the media, civic space, and freedom of expression.

The world faces its gravest test since the founding of the United Nations , said Guterres.

The world is struggling to absorb the unfolding shock: the jobs that have disappeared and the businesses that have suffered; the fundamental and drastic change to daily life, and the fear that the worst is yet to come, especially in the developing world and the countries already affected by the armed conflict.

"This is the fight of a generation, and the raison d'etre of the United Nations itself," he told the Security Council.

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