Antonio Guterres once again emphasized a need for international solidarity to address the greatest threat of all: The novel coronavirus.
Rabat – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council about the COVID-19 pandemic’s far-reaching implications on global peace and security, during a video conference on April 9.
The UN official emphasized that although the coronavirus is primarily a health crisis, the pandemic will have a considerable impact on global security.
The spread of COVID-19 “poses a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security–potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease,” UN News quoted the official as saying.
A lack of trust in public institutions during the pandemic is a critical threat to global peace and security. Any government mishandling its response to COVID-19 could undermine social stability, Guterres explained.
The pandemic’s economic impact might create “major stressors” to countries in the Global South, particularly for those already struggling with economic instability.
Women constitute the majority of workers in those sectors most susceptible to the pandemic, meaning they will suffer the greatest economic implications, according to the source.
The UN official warned about potential political opportunism amid the crisis. “In some conflict settings, the uncertainty created by the pandemic may create incentives for some actors to promote further division and turmoil. This could lead to an escalation of violence and possibly devastating miscalculations, which could further entrench ongoing wars and complicate efforts to fight the pandemic,” said Guterres.
Guterres also feared terrorist groups could seize the current crisis to execute bioterrorism attacks. “The weaknesses and lack of preparedness exposed by this pandemic provide a window onto how a bioterrorist attack might unfold–and may increase its risks. Non-state groups could gain access to virulent strains that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe,” explained the UN official.
The secretary general first urged an international ceasefire on March 23, calling on warring parties to confront the coronavirus as a common enemy. Ceasing hostilities would allow domestic and international bodies to provide appropriate medical care for the world’s most vulnerable populations, according to the UN leader.
Saudi Arabia announced on April 8 a temporary, unilateral ceasefire in Yemen. The declaration is the world’s first example of a warring party laying down arms in light of the global pandemic.
Guterres once again stressed, as he has for weeks, that international solidarity is key for countries to defeat the “gravest test since the founding” of the UN in 1945.