The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, urged business leaders and international economists to do their part to ensure that economic recovery from Covid-19 is equitable around the world.
“At this critical moment, we’re carving an unbalanced recovery in stone”, he said at the World Economic Forum, which normally meets in Davos, Switzerland, but this year is virtual due to the pandemic.
“Record inflation burdens, shrinking fiscal space, high interest rates, and skyrocketing of energy and food prices are hitting all corners of the world and blocking recovery, especially in low- and middle-income countries,” Guterres warned.
The UN chief argued that recovery remains “fragile and uneven” as pandemic persists, and that the poorest countries are experiencing their slowest growth in a generation and need debt relief and financing. He called for reforming the global financial system so that it works for all countries.
“The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth: if we leave someone behind, in the end we leave everyone behind”, said about the duration of the pandemic so far.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 90% of countries have not met the goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021. In Africa alone, around 1 billion people have not received a single dose of the vaccine.
“If we do not manage to vaccinate all people, we will give rise to new variants that will spread across borders and cripple daily life and economies,” Guterres warned.
The UN chief said that more must also be done to help developing countries fight climate change.
“To chart a new course, we need all hands on deck, especially all of you in the global business communityhe said, urging a 45% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To achieve that, he reiterated his call to phase out coal and stop building new coal plants.
“We see a clear role for companies and investors in supporting our goal of net zero emissions”, he added, referring to the global goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
Guterres told the forum that on economic recovery and climate action, the world cannot afford to repeat the inequalities that continue to condemn millions to poverty and poor health.
Voice of America (VOA)