Naftali Bennett highlights technology and trade, building bridges and climate change

In a special address at the virtual World Economic Forum’s Agenda 2022 in Davos on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres outlined three urgent areas that must be addressed if the world is to emerge from the global economic and health crisis. underway and to ensure that the UN Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.

“The recovery remains fragile and uneven amid the lingering pandemic, lingering labor market challenges, continued supply chain disruptions, rising inflation and looming debt traps,” did he declare. “To chart a new course, we need everyone on board, especially the global business community.”

The first area that needs immediate attention is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic with fairness and equity. Citing the World Health Organization’s global goal of vaccinating 40% of people in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70% by the middle of 2022, António Guterres said the world was far to achieve these goals. “If we fail to vaccinate every person, we give rise to new variants that spread across borders and bring daily life and economies to a screeching halt,” he said.

To ensure equity in vaccines, he called on countries and manufacturers to prioritize the supply of vaccines from the global COVAX program and to support the local production of tests, vaccines and treatments around the world. . He also asked pharmaceutical companies to stand in solidarity with developing countries by sharing licenses, know-how and technology to find a way out of the pandemic.

The second challenge is the need to reform the global financial system, especially as low-income countries are extremely disadvantaged and experiencing their slowest growth in a generation. “The burden of record inflation, shrinking fiscal space, high interest rates and soaring energy and food prices is hitting every corner of the world and blocking recovery, especially in these low- and middle-income countries,” said António Guterres. This stifles any hope of growth by making it even more difficult for governments to invest in sustainable and resilient systems.

He urged business leaders to help shape a global financial system that works for all countries. These include restructuring the long-term debt architecture, tackling corruption and illicit financial flows, ensuring that tax systems are fair and designed to reduce inequality, and bringing together governments, businesses, the financial sector and international financial institutions to build private investment in developing countries.

Supporting climate action in developing countries is the third area that needs immediate attention, especially as global emissions are projected to increase by 14% by 2030.

“Even if all developed countries fulfilled their pledges to drastically reduce their emissions by 2030, global emissions would still be too high to keep the 1.5 degree Celsius target within reach. We need a 45% reduction in global emissions this decade,” stressed António Guterres.

Climate shocks, including extreme weather events, forced 30 million people to flee their homes in 2020 alone, three times more than those displaced by war and violence. And 1 billion children are at extremely high risk of suffering the effects of climate change. “To turn this ship around will take immense will and ingenuity from governments and businesses, in all major emitting countries,” he said. “We see a clear role for businesses and investors in supporting our net zero goal.”

This, he said, calls for the creation of coalitions of governments, public and private financial institutions, investment funds and companies with the technological know-how to provide targeted financial and technical support to every country that needs help.

The World Economic Forum’s Climate Action Platform helps businesses, governments and NGOs accelerate and scale up the ambition and partnerships needed to drive a sustainable and inclusive future, and its CEO Alliance for Climate climate commits policy makers to help ensure the transition to a net-zero economy.

Guterres concluded by saying that many countries need the support, ideas, funding and voice of the global business community.

“If we fail to provide debt relief and financing to developing countries, we create an unbalanced recovery that can bring down an interconnected global economy,” he said. “If we fail to reduce inequality, we are undermining economic progress for everyone in every country.”

Jennifer C. Burleigh