A new world will emerge from the tumult caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and people everywhere should be aware of what is coming, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday.
Speaking during the launch of a U.N. policy brief entitled “COVID-19 in an Urban World,” Guterres sees change everywhere from the need for more “social cohesion” to ” deeper cooperation between local and national authorities,” all predicated on a “green” ethos of sustainability.
The lifelong Socialist conceded change would not be easy but he saw no alternative as we “reset how we live, interact and rebuild.” He said:
First, we need to ensure that all phases of the pandemic response tackle inequalities and long-term development deficits and safeguard social cohesion.
We must prioritise those who are the most vulnerable in our cities, including guaranteeing safe shelter for all and emergency housing to those without homes.
We must strengthen the capacities of local governments.
This requires decisive action – and deeper cooperation between local and national authorities. Stimulus packages and other relief should support tailored responses and boost local government capacity.
Guterres then outlined his masterplan for a green revolution across the planet, admiring things such as “new bike lanes and pedestrian zones, reclaiming public spaces and improving mobility, safety and air quality.”
It is a theme he has been embracing for some time, urging the world to rebuild in a green fashion when the pandemic subsides:
We need not only climate action, but also climate justice.
Political leaders must raise their ambition, businesses must raise their sights, and people everywhere must raise their voices.
There is a better way, and we must take it. pic.twitter.com/E8Y5GvrpDP
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 22, 2020
On Wednesday he returned to that ethos and called for a world transformed and rebuilt using the principles espoused by climate activists the world over. He continued:
By focusing on high ecological transformation and job creation, stimulus packages can steer growth towards a low-carbon, resilient pathway and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
The rapid adoption of telecommuting illustrates how societies can transform seemingly overnight to confront urgent threats.
We must act with the same urgency and resolve to transform cities and address the climate and pollution crises.
Guterres spoke just 48-hours after he scolded China for its reliance on coal.
In response, a special adviser to China’s environment ministry pledged that “new and greater contributions” to global climate governance in tandem with the U.N. would be made as a result, reports Reuters.