Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video message to civil society on financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, today:
Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to speak to civil society representatives today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted immense suffering across the world and brought about the most severe economic crisis in a century. The burden of this crisis is falling on those least able to cope, amplifying inequalities everywhere. Our world is fully capable of supporting those suffering most. But help is still not going where it is urgently needed.
In most of the developed world, Governments have adopted packages valued in the double digits of gross domestic product (GDP) to tackle the virus and its social and economic impact. But we have not seen the necessary level of global solidarity that would enable the developing world to do the same — as we have appealed for from the beginning.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This crisis is a human tragedy — but it is also an opportunity. It has demonstrated the potential for real change. People everywhere have adopted new ways of living, working and socializing. Governments everywhere have reordered their priorities.
For too long, we have been underserved by our global financial architecture. We now have a chance to re-imagine global financing frameworks and put them at the service of humanity. This is the only way we will build a strong recovery from the pandemic and create communities and societies fit for the challenges of the future, from infectious diseases to the climate crisis and economic shocks. We must align finance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and work across sectors and with all stakeholders.
Since the start of the pandemic, civil society has mobilized its vast networks with a consistent call to support those most affected by this crisis. You held authorities of all kinds accountable.
Civil society was a key part of the initiative I launched together with the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. You made important contributions to the menu of options that emerged and reminded us of the human dimensions of this crisis.
You advocated for the farmer trying to make a living in a degraded environment; for the schoolgirl facing the end of her education and her dreams; for the millions of marginalized people struggling to survive.
As we chart a new way forward, I count on you and your networks to continue to speak out. We need your voices urging policies and actions to recover better with sustainability, equity and inclusion. We need your strong advocacy for debt relief for countries that need it; for a long-term view of debt sustainability; for private investment aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and ambitious climate action; and for a financial architecture that enables inclusive, sustainable growth and development for all.
Together, let’s build an even more fruitful partnership between the United Nations and civil society, so that the global response to the pandemic addresses the financing needs of all countries and communities. Let’s make change happen from the ground up.