World leaders to mark United Nations at 75 as pandemic challenges organization

World leaders to mark United Nations at 75 as pandemic challenges organization
  • Clock-gray 13:53
  • calendar-gray 21 September 2020

World leaders will come together, virtually, on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, as the deadly coronavirus pandemic challenges the effectiveness and solidarity of the 193-member world body, APA reports citing Reuters.

As COVID-19, which emerged in China late last year, began to spread around the world, forcing millions of people to shelter at home and dealing a devastating economic blow, countries turned inward and diplomats say the United Nations struggled to assert itself.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Reuters that the pandemic has exposed the world’s fragilities. He plans to tell world leaders on Monday that they need to work together at a time when there is a surplus of multilateral challenges and deficit of solutions.

The 15-member Security Council took months to back a call by Guterres for a global ceasefire - to allow countries to focus on fighting COVID-19 - due to bickering between the world’s biggest powers: China and the United States.

The 193-member General Assembly only adopted an omnibus resolution on a “comprehensive and coordinated response” to the pandemic earlier this month and it was not by consensus. The United States and Israel voted no.

A $10.3 billion U.N. appeal to fund fighting the pandemic in vulnerable and low-income countries is only a quarter funded. Guterres now has taken a lead in pushing to make sure any vaccine for the coronavirus is made available to everyone globally.

 

A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the General Assembly should have acted months ago, but “we were all hampered by, and hit, by the COVID-19.”

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