Deputy Secretary-General’s press conference on the Launch of the “Rise for All” initiative

Thank you very much, Stéphane. Thank you to all of you for being with us today, and I am really delighted to be joined by Achim Steiner, the Administrator of UNDP.

As we all know, we are living in surreal times. The world as we know it has been hit by an unprecedented health, humanitarian and economic crisis. COVID is a pandemic touching all corners of the world, and we will need our solidarity to rise to the occasion of the global response that is needed at a magnitude that we have never seen before.

Every country and community will be affected and under the leadership of the Secretary-General, our job in the United Nations is to be ready to serve and to support countries, governments, communities, businesses, in fighting the pandemic, suppressing the virus, and ensuring that we support all leaders in the socio-economic recovery.

Today, I am pleased to launch two efforts in support of the world’s response to COVID-19 and recovery. First, the framework for immediate socio-economic response and recovery to COVID, which puts into practice the Secretary-General’s report, “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity” that he released in March.

The second is “Women Rising for All” putting women leaders at the forefront calling the world to action for the responses that we will need on the health, the economic and the humanitarian front.

For the framework, this complements all UN efforts, particularly in health, which is being ably led by the World Health Organization (WHO), and Dr. Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus]. It is also being led in the humanitarian sector, on the Humanitarian Response Plan.

The Framework centres around five interconnected clusters. In a nutshell, ensuring that our health services are protected, reinforced and capacities built to build back better. The second, ensuring that people have access to social protection and basic services;

The third will be to protect jobs, SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises,] in supporting economic recovery.

The fourth, supporting elements of the fiscal and financial stimulus macroeconomic framework, including the call for a debt standstill to allow a fiscal space to address the crisis.

And the last, but not least, is that community engagement that we will need to build the resilience of the most vulnerable.

This framework restates and commits to human rights, the environmental sustainability, climate action, gender equality, thus reflecting the 2030 agenda, the Paris Agreement. COVID-19 may have put a pause button on the world, but it certainly hasn’t stopped climate change, nor has it stopped the vulnerabilities or the inequalities around the world. And we must take profit from this crisis to look at the opportunities that we can address.

The framework guides action through the next 12 to 18 months, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinators and our country teams, and we will be relying on the technical lead of UNDP to ensure that we can operationalize this framework in the shortest possible time. It is the first time that we are looking at development with an emergency lens. We have looked at the humanitarian and the health, but now for development it is equally urgent that we attend to the crisis.

Aligned with the call, the Secretary-General has launched the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This will catalyze action at the country level, to mobilize in the first instance, $1 billion by the end of the year, and $2 billion overall. This call has already gone out to 47 of our most vulnerable countries, and we have received all responses, hoping that we will get out to deliver on those calls by the beginning of May.

We will be rising to this occasion with women at the forefront. We have heard over and over again how they carry the brunt of the burden of COVID-19, and the health, the humanitarian and certainly the socioeconomic piece.

And for that, we have an amazing number of women who are coming forward today to support us in that call to action.

I would like to welcome the leadership of President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia; Prime Minister [Erna] Solberg of Norway; our Sustainable Development Advocate and Founder of the Education Above All initiative, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley; Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many more incredible leaders as we rise today to take our actions forward in ensuring that we come out – we conquer COVID-19 – and we come out the other side better.

Now more than ever, we need to come together to overcome this global threat that affects us all.

The United Nations is fully committed to supporting people and Governments as we go in this struggle together.


New York

27 April 2020