Thu, 04 Mar 2021

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for solidarity with developing countries in the context of COVID-19 and pre-exisiting inequalities and injustices.

The recovery from COVID-19 is an opportunity to change course. With smart policies and the right investments, the world can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies and builds resilience. But developing countries must have the necessary resources to do so, said Guterres.

"I continue to strongly advocate for greater international support from developed countries and international financial institutions and development banks," he told a virtual handover ceremony of the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China for 2021 from Guyana to Guinea.

Governments must have the resources to invest in job creation, and get education and businesses back on track, in order to build forward, greener and better. This includes debt relief for all countries that need it, so that no one is forced to choose between providing basic services for their people and servicing their debts.

The international community must do more to increase the financial resources available to developing and middle-income countries, many of which are highly vulnerable. There is a need for a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights to the benefit of developing countries, and a voluntary reallocation of unused Special Drawing Rights, he said.

Looking ahead, it is clear that the old "normal" of inequalities and injustices must give way, he said. "Power, resources and opportunities must be shared more equitably. 2021 must be a turning point, for nature and for humanity."

Vaccines for COVID-19 are available. They must be a global public good, available to everyone, everywhere, he said.

That requires full funding for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility. Manufacturers need to step up their commitment to working with the COVAX facility and countries around the world, in particular the world's leading economies, to ensure enough supply and fair distribution, he said.

"Vaccinationalism" is self-defeating and would delay a global recovery, he warned.

A series of summits and high-level meetings in the months to come, including the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, and the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, offer important opportunities, said Guterres.

The building of a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality is the central objective for the United Nations for 2021, and it must be everyone's priority, he said.

He called for a breakthrough on climate adaptation and resilience and the need to ensure that the 100-billion-U.S. dollar annual commitment by developed countries to developing countries for climate action is fulfilled.

"We must align global finance behind the sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement, the world's blueprint for climate action and for justice."

It is imperative that developing countries have adequate, predictable and balanced means of support available to protect and adapt to the impacts of climate change, he said.

Donors and the multilateral and national development banks should commit to increasing the share of adaptation and resilience finance to at least 50 percent of their climate finance support, he said.

"We are also yet to meet any of the global biodiversity targets set for 2020, and biodiversity is facing a financing gap of 711 billion dollars per year until 2030."

Guterres thanked the Group of 77 and China for its crucial role in responding to the immediate COVID-19 health, humanitarian and development emergencies while maintaining a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals.

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