Secretary-General’s remarks at G-20 Virtual Summit on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thank you, Your Majesty, for convening this meeting.

We are at war with a virus – and not winning it.

It took the world three months to reach 100,000 confirmed cases of infection.

The next 100,000 happened in just 12 days.

The third took four days.

The fourth, just one and a half.

This is exponential growth and only the tip of the iceberg.

This war needs a war-time plan to fight it.

Solidarity is essential. Among the

G-20 – and with the developing world, including countries in conflict.

That is why I appealed for a global ceasefire.

Allow me to highlight three critical areas for concerted G-20 action.

First, to suppress the transmission of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.

That must be our common strategy.

It requires a coordinated G-20 response mechanism guided by WHO.

All countries must be able to combine systematic testing, tracing, quarantining and treatment with restrictions on movement and contact – aiming to suppress transmission of the virus.

And they have to coordinate the exit strategy to keep it suppressed until a vaccine becomes available.

At the same time, we need massive support to increase the response capacity of developing countries.

The United Nations system has a well-established supply chain network, and we stand ready to place it at your disposal.

Second, we must work together to minimize the social and economic impact.

The G-20 came of age in the 2008 financial crisis.

The challenges before us dwarf those of 2008.

And what we face today is not a banking crisis; it is a human crisis.

While the liquidity of the financial system must be assured, our emphasis must be on the human dimension.

We need to concentrate on people, keeping households afloat and businesses solvent, able to protect jobs.

This will require a global response reaching double-digit percentages of the global economy.

I welcome infusions of liquidity and social and economic support in developed countries — with direct transfer of resources to people and businesses.

But a stimulus package to help developing countries with the same objectives also requires a massive investment.

For this, we need greater resources for the International Monetary Fund and other International Financial Institutions, a meaningful emission of Special Drawing Rights, coordinated swaps between central banks and steps to alleviate debt, such as a waiver of interest payments.

I also appeal for the waiving of sanctions that can undermine countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic.

Third, we must work together now to set the stage for a recovery that builds a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable economy, guided by our shared promise — the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Let us do what it takes, urgently and together.

Thank you.

COVID-19 Dedicated UN website –


UN Secretary General Message on COVID 19 | 11 March 2020 – New York

All of us face a common threat – the coronavirus – COVID 19.

Today’s declaration of a pandemic is a call to action – for everyone, everywhere.

It’s also a call for responsibility and solidarity – as nations united and as people united.

As we fight the virus, we cannot let fear go viral.

Together, we can still change the course of this pandemic – but that means addressing inaction.

The best science tells us, if countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, we can go a long way to mitigating transmission.

I call on every government to step up and scale up their efforts – now.

And since this is a crisis that affects everyone, we must all play our part.

As we mourn all those who have lost their lives and the many families who are suffering, we must show solidarity with the most vulnerable – the elderly, the sick, those without reliable healthcare, and those on the edge of poverty.

Let’s move forward with resolve and without stigma.

You can count on the UN to do our part.

Let’s overcome this common threat together.



8 March 2020

Women’s rights have made significant progress in recent decades, from the abolition of discriminatory laws to increased numbers of girls in school. But we now face a powerful pushback. Legal protections against rape and domestic abuse are being diluted in some countries; women’s sexual and reproductive rights are under threat.

All this is because gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. Centuries of discrimination and deep-rooted patriarchy have created a yawning gender power gap in our economies, our political systems, our corporations and our culture.

This profoundly affects us all and is a barrier to solving many of the challenges and threats we face, from achieving a fair globalization that works for everyone, to ending the epidemic of violence against women and building peaceful and secure societies. We must also urgently address the digital gender divide that threatens to entrench gender inequality in societies and economies for decades to come.

With women still occupying just one quarter of seats in parliaments around the world, political representation is the clearest evidence of the gender power gap. That is why gender parity at the United Nations is one of my top priorities, which has already led to the achievement of parity at senior levels, two years ahead of our target. Going forward, I will do everything in my power to make sure women are represented in all decision-making at the United Nations, including in peace processes. I will also advocate with Member States for the repealing of all discriminatory laws, for women’s equal participation in all spheres, for increased protection from violence, and for more inclusive economies.

Gender equality is a means of redefining and transforming power that will yield benefits for all.  It is time to stop trying to change women, and to start changing the systems and power imbalances that prevent them from achieving their potential.


Human Rights Day 10 December : – Secretary-General’s Message

This year, on Human Rights Day, we celebrate the role of young people in bringing human rights to life.  

Globally, young people are marching, organizing, and speaking out:  

For the right to a healthy environment…

For the equal rights of women and girls…

To participate in decision-making…

And to express their opinions freely…  

They are marching for their right to a future of peace, justice and equal opportunities.  

Every single person is entitled to all rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural. Regardless of where they live. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, social origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or other opinion, disability or income, or any other status.  

On this International Day, I call on everyone to support and protect young people who are standing up for human rights.   

António Guterres


A Climate Change: An Unstoppable Movement Takes Hold by António Guterres

On the eve of the September UN Climate Action Summit, young women and men around the world mobilized by the millions and told global leaders: “You are failing us”.  They are right.

Global emissions are increasing. Temperatures are rising.  The consequences for oceans, forests, weather patterns, biodiversity, food production, water, jobs and, ultimately, lives, are already dire — and set to get much worse.

The science is undeniable. But in many places, people don’t need a chart or graph to understand the climate crisis.  They can simply look out the window.

Climate chaos is playing out in real time from California to the Caribbean, and from Africa to the Arctic and beyond. Those who contributed least to the problem are suffering the most.

I have seen it with my own eyes from cyclone-battered Mozambique to the hurricane-devastated Bahamas to the rising seas of the South Pacific.

I called the Climate Action Summit to serve as a springboard to set us on the right path ahead of crucial 2020 deadlines established by the Paris Agreement on climate change. And many leaders — from many countries and sectors — stepped up.

A broad coalition — not just governments and youth, but businesses, cities, investors and civil society — came together to move in the direction our world so desperately needs to avert climate catastrophe.

More than seventy countries committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, even if major emitters have not yet done so. More than 100 cities did the same, including several of the world’s largest.

At least seventy countries announced their intention to boost their national plans under the Paris agreement by 2020.

Small Island States together committed to achieve carbon neutrality and to move to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Countries from Pakistan to Guatemala, Colombia to Nigeria, New Zealand to Barbados vowed to plant more than 11 billion trees.

More than 100 leaders in the private sector committed to accelerating their move into the green economy.

A group of the world’s largest asset-owners — responsible for directing more than $2 trillion — pledged to move to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.

This is in addition to a recent call by asset managers representing nearly half the world’s invested capital – some $34 trillion – for global leaders to put a meaningful price on carbon and phase out fossil fuel subsidies and thermal coal power worldwide.

The International Development Finance Club pledged to mobilize $1 trillion in clean energy funding by 2025 in 20 least developed countries.

One-third of the global banking sector signed up to align their businesses with the Paris agreement objectives and Sustainable Development Goals.

The Summit also showcased ways in which cities and global industries like shipping can achieve major reductions in emissions. Initiatives to protect forests and safeguard water supplies were also highlighted.

These steps are all important — but they are not sufficient.

From the beginning, the Summit was designed to jolt the world and accelerate action on a wider scale. It also served as a global stage for hard truths and to shine a light on those who are leading and those who are not.  Deniers or major emitters have nowhere to hide.

I will continue to encourage them to do much more at home and drive green economic solutions around the world.

Our planet needs action on a truly planetary scale. That cannot be achieved overnight, and it cannot happen without the full engagement of those contributing most to the crisis.

If our world is to avoid the climate cliff, far more is needed to heed the call of science and cut greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030; reach carbon neutrality by 2050; and limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. That’s how we can secure the future of our world.

Too many countries still seem to be addicted to coal – even though cheaper, greener options are available already. We need much more progress on carbon pricing, ensuring no new coal plants by 2020, and ending trillions of dollars in giveaways of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to a dying fossil fuel industry to boost hurricanes, spread tropical diseases, and heighten conflict.

At the same time, developed countries must fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

And I will make sure that the commitments that countries, the private sector and local authorities have made are accounted for — starting in December at the UN Climate conference in Santiago, Chile. The UN is united in support of realizing these initiatives.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time.

Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3 degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century. I will not be there, but my granddaughters will.

I refuse to be an accomplice in the destruction of their one and only home.

Young people, the UN – and a growing number of leaders from business, finance, government, and civil society – in short, many of us – are mobilizing and acting.

But we need many others to take climate action if we are to succeed.

We have a long way to go. But the movement has begun.

António Guterres is Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Launch of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal

Press Release

Harare, 6 August 2019 – During the launch of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal (January 2019 to April 2020) held today, the Government, United Nations, civil society and development partners reinforced their collective commitment to address the increasing humanitarian needs of the vulnerable people negatively impacted by climate and economic shocks.  The renewed commitment came as new evidence of increasing vulnerabilities emerged, whereby an estimated 5.5 million people in the rural areas are food insecure[1], of whom over 3 million people – or 38% of the rural population – are projected to be in need of urgent humanitarian support between the period October to December 2019[2].  Urban vulnerability is also on the rise, with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare estimating that up to 2.2 million people in urban areas are food insecure.  An urban vulnerability assessment is currently ongoing; its findings and recommendations will further inform urban humanitarian actions.

In support of the Government’s efforts, the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal targets the multi-sectoral priority humanitarian needs of 3.7 million vulnerable people, with a total requirement of USD 331.5 million between the period July 2019 to April 2020.  The revised appeal prioritizes life-saving support targeting the people most in need, including residual humanitarian needs of cyclone-affected communities.

The launch was jointly hosted by the Government and the UN System in Zimbabwe.  David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), who is on an official visit to Zimbabwe this week, joined the launch as a special guest.  “We must rapidly scale up to meet the urgent food needs of those hardest hit by the economic crisis and the drought.  But even as we ramp up to meet those immediate needs, we must work harder on the long-term problems – strengthening those communities that are chronically hungry, so they can better withstand climate shocks and other emergencies,” stressed Beasley.

Highlighting the Government’s ongoing efforts, His Excellency Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe – in a statement – said: “Above all, the Government’s response strategy seeks to protect and empower the vulnerable, principally women, children and the girl-child whose educational prospects must not be diminished by the unfolding humanitarian challenge.”

Recognizing the efforts made by the Government both in addressing the humanitarian challenges faced in country – from the Cyclone Idai response to the current food insecurity situation – and in addressing the macro-economic challenges through the implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli, said: “While efforts are being undertaken to address these extremely complex sets of challenges, there is a moral obligation and an urgency for the international community to lend a hand to support those most in need with humanitarian assistance.”

With the generous support from the development partners and the joint efforts by the humanitarian actors, USD 133 million or 45.5 percent of the priority humanitarian needs have been met between the period January to June 2019, reaching two million women, men and children with critical and life-saving interventions.  Close to 1.2 million people received food assistance; 400,000 people received clean water and safe sanitation; 600,000 people received essential health services; and, 16,000 girls and boys received child protection services.

In response to the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal, the Ambassador of the United States of America, H.E. Mr. Brian A. Nichols said: “The United States remains the largest bilateral donor to emergency humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe and we are proud to be part of a coordinated response to the humanitarian situation.  We work closely with the UN and other donors to ensure that as many communities as possible are covered during this challenging time.”

Various other Ambassadors including that of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. M. N. Mbete; People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Guo Shaochun; Head of Development Cooperation of the European Union Delegation, Ms. Irene Giribaldi; and, Head of Office of the United Kingdom Department of International Development, Ms. Annabel Gerry also delivered solidarity messages in support of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal.

The launch brought together Cabinet Ministers and senior representatives from Government; diplomatic corps; development and humanitarian partners; civil society; private sector; and the media.

The Revised Zimbabwe Flash Appeal contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 goals, by advancing the overarching principle of “leave no one behind” and adopting the humanitarian-development-peace nexus in support of Zimbabwe’s commitments to furthering its human rights and humanitarian obligations.

The UN System, through its 2016-2021 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework, works with various partners to advance democratic, social and economic governance for quality service delivery in health, education, water and sanitation, food and nutrition, gender equality, HIV and AIDS, poverty reduction and resilience building.  The United Nations delivers over USD 400 million per annum in various development projects towards inclusive growth and sustainable development.

For further information please contact:

Tafadzwa Mwale, National Information Officer, UNIC, e-mail:

[1] 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) Rural Livelihoods Assessment

[2] Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis (July 2019)


No Drug Abuse and No tobacco days commemorated

International Day Against Drug Abuse 2019 – Banner

On 12 June, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Harare, Ministry of Health and Child Care, World Health Organisation (WHO) and mental health organisations commemorated World No Tobacco Day and International Day against Drug Abuse and illicit Trafficking. Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obadiah Moyo officiated together with the World Health organisation Representative, Dr Alex Gasasira.

International Day Against Drug Abuse 2019 – Participants

The day began with an awareness-raising march within the surrounding areas of Dzivarasekwa. This was led by drum majorettes. During the commemoration, two former drug and tobacco addicts recounted how they had reformed and discouraged people from abusing drugs and alcohol as this can affect their health,  lives, relations and future.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and No Tobacco Day 2019 – Banner

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated annually on 31 May. It was set aside by the Member States of the World Health Organization in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. The World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be a “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.

International Day Against Drug Abuse 2019 – General Public

By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

International Day Against Drug Abuse 2019 – Drum Majorettes and the General Public

Supported each year by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world, this global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. UNIC provided 2 banners for the event.


UNIC at ZITF 2019

Tafadzwa Mwale giving books to Africa University @ the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair 2019

UNIC joined UN agencies at the UN in Zimbabwe exhibition stand mounted during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair held 24-27 April.

Jabulani Nyamweda explains how the UN operates to a stand visitor @ the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair 2019

The UN stand showcased UN programme delivery as articulated in the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF). Over the past three years, the UN has contributed US$1.2 billion towards peace, development and human rights in the country.  For people of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, the UN in Zimbabwe stand provided an opportunity to interact with the UN and gain better understanding of the work of the organisation. The UN also donated books to universities during the ZITF.

People crowd the UN in Zimbabwe stand @ the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair 2019

Phumuzile Khumalo interacting with stand visitors @ the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair 2019

The UN stand attracted different types of people @ the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair 2019

Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade remembered

On Monday 25 March, UNIC Harare commemorated the International day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The commemoration was held in partnership with the Catholic University of Zimbabwe.

Over 100 students and lecturers attended the commemoration at which Daniel Sam, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Head of Migration and Development was the guest speaker. During his presentation, Sam highlighted the interlinkages between slavery and migration and cautioned students not to fall into the slavery trap.

Some of the modern forms of slavery include sexual exploitation, human trafficking, engagement as child soldiers and forced work with no pay. He explained that slavery is a developmental and human rights issue affecting more women than men.

UNIC also mounted an exhibition entitled Say it Loud, which profiled black descendants of the slave trade who have overcome the barriers of slavery. This exhibition was donated to the Catholic University of Africa.


UN Secretary-General on Cyclone Idai

I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and heart-wrenching images of human suffering we have seen since Cyclone Idai hit Beira, Mozambique on the night of 14 March, and then swept into Malawi and Zimbabwe, resulting in the massive disaster.

I have been encouraged by the efforts of national and international search and rescue teams, who have been working around the clock to save thousands of lives under dangerous and challenging conditions.

These heroes have not only rescued families off roofs, but are also delivering food, water purification tablets and other life-saving humanitarian assistance to survivors after communities have literally been washed away.

The UN and humanitarian partners are scaling up the response with the initial funding from generous donors. The UN has already released US$ 20 million to kick-start the response. However, far greater international support is needed.

With crops destroyed in the breadbasket of Mozambique more people are at risk of food insecurity in all three countries. And homes, schools, hospitals and roads lie in ruin.

What is needed now are funds to support the response in the days, weeks and months to come.

We must all stand in solidarity with the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

I would like to make a strong appeal to the international community to step up support.

New York, 22 March 2019