Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ closing remarks to the High-level Event on Financing for Development, on 28 May:
Thank you all, Heads of State and Government, leaders of international organizations and all participants in this high-level event. I am moved and inspired by your urgency and unity.
As COVID-19 takes an unprecedented human toll, societies are in turmoil and economies are in freefall. While developed countries are moving to keep families and businesses afloat, many developing countries are risking catastrophe. We need a decisive multilateral effort to support them. I am encouraged that we will work together in six critical areas.
First, finding ways to enhance global liquidity so that developing countries have the resources they need to fight the pandemic.
Second, preventing debt crises in all countries at risk, including middle-income countries. Such crises risk undermining both the COVID-19 response and sustainable development for years to come.
Third, engaging with private creditors on joint debt-relief efforts.
Fourth, aligning global financial systems with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Fifth, ending illicit financial flows.
Sixth, rebuilding differently, and better.
This pandemic has revealed our global fragility. But fragility extends far beyond health systems. It affects all our global institutions and multilateral efforts. We see it in our failed response, until now, to the climate crisis. We see it in the weakness of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and the lawlessness of cyberspace.
The challenges of the response to the devastation of COVID-19 must be a final warning. It is time for a new humility in the face of existential threats. In the recovery from COVID-19, we need visionary leadership based on unity and solidarity. Returning to the old, discredited frameworks and systems that created this fragility is out of the question. We must build back better.
Economies must serve people. They must strengthen social bonds. They must be founded on sustainability and inclusivity; they must reduce inequality in all its forms, including gender inequality; and they must provide opportunities for everyone. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change will guide us through these turbulent times.
The entire United Nations system is mobilized in support of Governments around the world for response and recovery. Acting together, we can generate change that will save lives and livelihoods devastated by COVID-19. I want to particularly thank the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica, international organizations, partners, and all those across the United Nations system, who have worked together preparing this event to make today a success.
The pandemic is a human tragedy. It is also an opportunity to come together and join our efforts for global survival, peace and prosperity.