Secretary-General Highlights ‘Essential’ Failure of International Cooperation, in Address to Security Council Meeting on Post-Coronavirus Global Governance

Global Governance – Post-Pandemic

Secretary-General Highlights ‘Essential’ Failure of International Cooperation, in Address to Security Council Meeting on Post-Coronavirus Global Governance
24 September 2020
Countries have largely failed to cooperate in efforts to prevent the global spread of coronavirus, the top United Nations official warned the Security Council during a 24 September videoconference meeting, calling for a rethink of global governance and multilateralism.

“The pandemic is a clear test of international cooperation — a test we have essentially failed,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, attributing the spread of the outbreak and excessive casualties to “a lack of global preparedness, cooperation, unity and solidarity”.

Noting that 2020 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations founding, he recalled that fragmentation and polarization, without effective mechanisms of multilateral governance 100 years ago, led to the First World War, followed by the second. “Our world is no longer bipolar or unipolar; it is moving towards multipolarity,” he said, further cautioning that conflict, human rights abuses, humanitarian crises and stalled progress on development reinforce each other, while global response is more and more fragmented. The primary responsibility for making global governance work lies with Member States, including those on this Council, he added.

Describing post-pandemic global governance, he emphasized that will entail the establishment of a networked multilateralism based on strong links and cooperation between global and regional organizations, international financial institutions and other global alliances. Citing the strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, he said it is a model to be replicated elsewhere. A new paradigm must also address cross-border challenges, from the climate crisis to rising inequality to cybercrime, involving interest groups, businesses, organizations and entire sectors that are outside traditional concepts of global governance, he said, emphasizing that it must also integrate women, the largest group left out in the cold.

The General Assembly Declaration on the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations adopted earlier this week has created space for reflection on the future of multilateral cooperation on the post-COVID world, he said, adding that he will report back with analysis and recommendations. “In a world of interconnected threats, solidarity is self-interest,” he stressed…

The representative of the United States said she was astonished and disgusted by the content of the discussion. “Shame on each of you,” she told fellow members, saying they have taken the opportunity to focus on political grudges rather than the critical issue at hand. COVID-19 remains a threat to the daily lives and livelihoods of billions around the world, she added, noting that her country has been unrelenting in its efforts to combat COVID-19, both at home and abroad. To date, the United States has allocated more than $20 billion to benefit the international response, she said, pointing out that funding provided by generous United States taxpayers is saving lives in more than 120 countries around the world. The United States has also contributed more than $900 million to the United Nations response, by far the most of any country to date, compared with Niger’s $4.6 million, South Africa’s $8.4 million, Indonesia’s $5 million, Viet Nam’s $9.5 million and Tunisia’s $600,000. She went on to state that China’s decision to hide the origins of the virus, minimize its danger and suppress scientific cooperation transformed a local epidemic into a global pandemic. More importantly, those decisions cost hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Equally troubling is the danger posed by corrupted international organizations, she said, recalling that WHO was for many years considered a centre of science over politics, and data over bias. That reputation lies in tatters today after WHO assisted the Chinese campaign to withhold cooperation and lie to the world, she said, calling for reform of that organization…