UNSC COVID meet ends with no concrete outcomes

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 10, 2020, 07.50 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

No support was seen for SG Antonio Guterres global call for a ceasefire and no word came on any resolution being adopted or a joint solution to the crisis also.

After months of delay, The United Nations Security Council met on Thursday via video conference to discuss the COVID crisis but the meet resulted in no concrete outcomes. 

Also read: Death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 90,000 worldwide

The only thing UNSC could agree was on press elements post the meet. The statement said, UNSC "expressed their support for all efforts of the Secretary-General concerning the potential impact of COVID pandemic to conflict-affected countries"  and "recalled the need for unity and solidarity with all those affected." 

Also Read: Over 100 doctors succumb to COVID-19 as Italy death toll crosses over 17,600

No support was seen for SG Antonio Guterres global call for a ceasefire and no word came on any resolution being adopted or a joint solution to the crisis also.

The meet saw China saying no one should be made a scapegoat while calling for global solidarity. This comes even as the country come under increased criticism for hiding information on the coronavirus, whose first case was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

Chinese envoy to UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said, "To overcome this global challenge, solidarity, cooperation, mutual support and assistance is what we need, while beggar-thy-neighbour or scapegoating will lead us nowhere. Any acts of stigmatization and politicization must be rejected." 

The US called for an analysis of the origins and timely sharing of health data, a point that China surely will note given how it has been keen to say while the first case might be from the country but origins might be different. 

Ambassador Kelly Craft, Permanent Representative of US to UN said, "The United States reiterates today the need for complete transparency and the timely sharing of public health data and information within the international community."

Adding, "The most effective way to contain this pandemic is through accurate, science-based data collection and analysis of the origins, characteristics, and spread of the virus. We cannot stress enough how important these methods are."

Meanwhile,  Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Vassily Nebenzia called on "everybody to lift all non-UN multilateral or unilateral coercive measures and sanctions against developing countries", a remark for Washington for its sanctions against Iran and Venezuela. Iran, which is the hardest hit by COVID, has been writing to global capitals for removal of US Sanctions as it is impacting its measures to contain the pandemic.

United Nation Secretary-General briefed the council regarding the current situation saying that "this is the fight of a generation -- and the 'raison d’être of the United Nations itself."

He highlighted 8 risks emerging out of the crisis, which includes, the "threat of terrorism" which "remains alive" and "Terrorist groups may see a window of opportunity to strike while the attention of most governments is turned towards the pandemic."

Guterres highlighted the "weaknesses and lack of preparedness" exposed by the pandemic which may "provide a window onto how a bioterrorist attack might unfold – and may increase its risks" and fears that "Non-state groups could gain access to virulent strains that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe."

Other things he highlighted as the impact of COVID, include erosion of public trust, stalling of conflict resolution efforts, increase in racism etc

The financial situation of the United Nations was also talked by UNSG who called it "perilous" and the body has "only enough cash to fund peacekeeping operations through the end of June and limited capacity to pay troop- and police-contributing countries." 

This may impact India given that it is the largest contributor to the troop for UN peacekeeping.

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