1. GLOBAL OVERVIEW
The Secretary General released the UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19 on 25 June describing the UN strategy as based on three pillars – (a) delivery of a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive health response, (b) adoption of policies that address the devastating socioeconomic, humanitarian and human rights aspects of the crisis, and (c) a recovery process that builds back better. The response sets out what we can and must do to deliver a global response that leaves no-one behind, reduces our vulnerability to future pandemics, builds resilience to future shocks, and to overcome the severe and systemic inequalities exposed by the pandemic. The Secretary General called for effective and inclusive multilateralism, and urged countries to reimagine the ways in which they cooperate as well as to draw on the indispensable contributions of civil society, business, youth, and others.
On 24 June, the UN Deputy Secretary General announced the launch of six discussion groups on the core issues arising from the high-level event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. The discussion groups will be an open space to creatively tackle issues of external finance for inclusive growth and jobs; global liquidity and financial stability; debt vulnerability including the role of the private sector creditors in finding solutions; illicit financial flows; recovering better for sustainability, and to look towards a set of policy recommendations. She also opened the virtual “Recover Better Together Action Forum” on 26 June, noting in her remarks that the crisis is a stark reminder that any recovery that fails to address the causes of our vulnerabilities condemns us to more acute crises in the future. The forum will help catalyze the partnerships and finance the Recover Better Fund to make lasting change. The fund has helped expand the reach of social safety nets and close the digital divide and it has built infrastructure, including for water and sanitation, to support both immediate response and longer-term resiliency in countries around the world.
United Nations Member States, Observers and others sent a strong political message in the week of 24 June by announcing 170 signatories have now endorsed the Secretary General’s call for immediate global ceasefire in support of the battle against COVID-19. Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s profound impact on peace and security, development and human rights, the States underscored the importance of multilateralism, rule of law, diplomacy and negotiation as fundamental in promoting and supporting peaceful dispute settlements. The signatories highlighted the importance of global solidarity in tackling COVID-19 and called for diplomatic action and collective efforts.
WHO released access to the COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator investment case on 26 June, reporting that more than US$31 billion is needed over the next 12 months to develop medicines that will be effective against COVID-19, and to make them available to all. Meanwhile, WHO has defined four transmission scenarios for COVID-19 in its updated interim guidance on critical preparedness, readiness and response for COVID-19 – (a) no cases; (b) sporadic cases; (c) clusters of cases; and (d) community transmission. Furthermore, WHO in collaboration with UNICEF has launched the Hand Hygiene for All initiative, which highlighted the fact that the majority of people in the least developed countries are at immediate risk of COVID-19 infection due to a lack of hand hygiene facilities. In a joint statement they mentioned that one billion people in the 60 highest-risk countries lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home. Around half of them are children.