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United Nations

We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said is “attacking societies at their core, claiming lives and people’s livelihoods.”

Launching a new plan to counter the potentially devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on 31 March, the Secretary-General called for an urgent and coordinated response that focuses on the health emergency as well as addresses the devastating social and economic dimensions of the crisis with an aim to build more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.

“Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face,” he added.

Projections show that there could be up to 25 million job cuts jobs globally (ILO) and up to $3.4 trillion losses in labour income (ILO). There could be a 30 to 40 per cent decline in global foreign direct investment flows (UNTACD). An estimated 1.5 billion students are now out of school (UNESCO) and children have lost access to school meal programmes.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the agency leading the UN response, offers a variety of important resources to address and cope with the crisis, including a COVID-19 website, a dedicated multilingual messaging service using WhatsApp, a Solidarity Response Fund, advice for the public and parents as well as a series of myth busters.   

April’s edition of Goal of the Month, which focuses on Good Health and Well-being, looks into COVID-19’s impact on the different aspects of the development agenda — economic, social and environmental. Ahead of World Health Day (7 April), the edition also highlights the work and challenges facing the medical community, paying tribute to the courage and dedication of health care workers on the frontline of the response.

More UN resources are available on the dedicated UN coronavirus portal, which highlights the UN System’s response. Also check out the UN News site and resources for broadcasters.