With Focus on Human Rights, UN Releases 3-Point Response to Tackle Coronavirus

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

As its response to combat coronavirus infection, the United Nations has released a report, “United Nations Comprehensive Response to Covid-19: Saving Lives, Protecting Societies, Recovering Better.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United Nations says it has pursued a strategy based on the following three pillars:

1. A large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive health response, guided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. As part of this response, the United Nations is supporting efforts to accelerate work towards a Covid-19 vaccine, diagnostics, and treatment that are affordable and available to everyone, everywhere.

The UN is also establishing international coordination and operational support at global, regional and country level, and supporting the scaling up of country preparedness and response operations.

2. A wide-ranging effort to address the devastating socioeconomic, humanitarian, and human rights aspects of the crisis, with a focus on saving lives, keeping vital services accessible, households afloat, businesses solvent, supply chains functioning, institutions strong, public services delivering, and human rights at the forefront.

This includes the immediate humanitarian response to support the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable countries with life-saving assistance through a Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

It also includes the call for a stimulus package amounting to at least 10 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product, as well as massive support to developing countries, including a debt standstill, debt restructuring and greater support through the international financial institutions.

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3. A recovery process that builds back better. Emerging from this crisis is an opportunity to address the climate crisis, inequalities, exclusion, gaps in social protection systems and the many other fragilities and injustices that have been exposed.

Instead of going back to unsustainable systems and approaches, we need to transition to renewable energy, sustainable food systems,gender equality, stronger social safety nets, universal health coverage and an international system that can deliver consistently and universally – with the Sustainable Development Agenda as our guide.

The United Nations is helping to establish the knowledge base by marshalling its expertise to examine the diverse impacts of the pandemic and offering relevant information and advice.

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Rakesh Raman