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UN urges coordinated approach to address COVID-19, stem poverty



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UN Secretary General António Guterres has called for a more coordinated approach to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic against pushing 131 million people into extreme poverty.

Guterres told a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Operational Activities for Development on the COVID-19 crisis in New York, on Tuesday, that failure to achieve a coordinated approach could reverse years of development progress.

Among other things, the pandemic has exposed shortcomings in international financing and vaccine equity, but it has also highlighted the value and enormous potential of international cooperation for development, Guterres said.

The UN chief described the pandemic as a ‘litmus test’ for the new Resident Coordinator (RC) network, and repositioned UN development system that has passed “with a solid score”.

Over the past year, he said the UN had made progress on five key areas of reform, beginning with its Resident Coordinators and Country Teams.

Guterres said the progress had sparked “a true revolution in the UN System” and supported the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Secondly, he noted that the UN was now better positioned for “more tailored responses to specific country contexts and to countries in special situations”.

The UN chief also said there had been progress in advancing a regional review and headway made on the UN’s commitments to transparency and results.

“We are making progress in securing more efficient business operations”, the UN chief said, citing the example of efficiency gains that would shift some $100 million dollars to development activities.

Cecilia Ologunagba

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