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28 July 2021
UN congratulates Vanuatu on 41st Independence Day Anniversary
The Sustainable Development Goals in Pacific
Ref: ORG 130/Congratulatory letter Dear Honourable Prime Minister Bob Loughman Weibur, On the occasion of the 41st Independence Day Anniversary of the Republic of Vanuatu, I have great pleasure to convey on behalf of the United Nations, our warm congratulations and best wishes to You and the people of Vanuatu. As the Pacific region, and indeed the Globe, continues to face all kinds of social, economic, environmental, and political challenges, I would like to assure You that the United Nations remains committed to supporting the Government and the people of Vanuatu through these unprecedented times. The United Nations also commends Vanuatu and its people for continuing, despite many challenges and upheavals, to maintain respect for democracy and the rule of law. We stand ready to support the Government and people of Vanuatu to uphold these ideals and to build a resilient future for all. May I take this opportunity to wish you and the people of Vanuatu happy celebrations and continuous peace and progress. Yours sincerely, Sanaka Samarasinha
UN Resident Coordinator
And it is not just about the most vulnerable. This pandemic shows that we are all at risk because we are only
as strong as the weakest health system. Its unprecedented scale demands an unprecedented response,” said
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who presented his report on the socio-economic impacts
of COVID-19 “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity” in March. “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 said. This new framework released today sets the way United Nations entities will deliver this vision on the ground. Decisions made in the next few months will be crucial for the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN’s framework for social and economic recovery stresses. Noting that during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, more people died from the interruption of social services and the economic breakdown than from the virus itself, the framework focuses on protecting the needs and rights of those most affected by the pandemic, starting with the most vulnerable countries, groups, and those who risk being left behind. Drawing lessons from the 2008-2009 global economic and financial crisis, the framework notes that countries with strong social protection systems and basic services suffered the least and recovered the fastest. To prevent billions of people from sliding into poverty, governments around the world will need to rapidly adapt, extend and scale-up safety ‘cushions’, such as cash transfers, food assistance, social insurance schemes and child benefits to support families. For the impacts of COVID-19 to be reduced, the UN calls for an extraordinary scale-up of support to cope with
the challenges ahead, including immediate social protection responses that consider differentiated impacts on
vulnerable groups, children, women, men, and those in the informal sector. This is particularly urgent considering
that 4 billion people, more than half of the world population—including two out of three children—have no or
inadequate social protection. NOTES FOR THE EDITORS
The UN will focus on five key streams in its response, which places communities at the centre of recovery efforts:
1. protecting existing health services and strengthening health systems’ capacity to respond to COVID-19;
2. helping people cope with adversity, through social protection and basic services;
3. protecting jobs, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and informal sector workers through economic recovery programmes;
4. guiding the necessary surge in fiscal and financial stimulus to make macroeconomic policies work for the most vulnerable and strengthening multilateral and regional responses; and 5. promoting social cohesion and investing in community-led resilience and response systems. These five streams are connected by action to meet the need for environmental sustainability, if countries are to recover and “build back better”, and be better prepared to address future shocks, including pandemics.
UN teams covering 162 countries and territories will rollout this recovery plan in the next 12 to 18 months, under the leadership of UN Resident Coordinators (RC), supported by a network of global and regional expertise. As the technical lead in the socio-economic recovery effort, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) will support RCs,with UN teams working as one across all aspects of the response. While a significant proportion of the existing US$17.8 billion portfolio of sustainable development programmes across UN entities will be adjusted towards COVID-19 needs, given the scale and scope of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, additional funds will be required. To support these efforts, the Secretary-General launched the United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, a UN inter-agency fund mechanism to help support low- and middle-income programme countries overcome the health and development crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and support people most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption. The financial requirements of the Fund are projected at $1billion in the first nine months and will be subsequently reviewed. The Secretary-General also called for a multilateral response that amounts to at least 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) to mount the most effective response to crisis the world has ever seen.
There will be no return to the “old normal”, the framework document states. The pandemic is a blow to develop-ing and emerging economies that already face binding constraints of debt and limited fiscal space, with several developing countries needing urgent debt relief. Its impacts will be especially devastating for the most vulnerable countries – those in humanitarian or conflict settings. The UN also calls for a massive fiscal and financial repurposing in the next weeks and months, including the redirection of fossil fuel subsidies to aid the response.
The UN stresses that the status quo and business-as-usual are policy choices, and they are not inevitable.For a sustainable development that benefits more people, the choice must be for a recovery from COVID-19 that is fast, fair, green and inclusive.
About the framework document The “United Nations Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19: Shared responsibility, global solidarity and urgent action for people in need”, released today puts in practice the UN Secretary- General’s Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity report on the same subject. It is one of three critical components of the UN’s efforts to save lives, protect people, and rebuild better, alongside the health response, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the humanitarian response, as detailed in the UN-led COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. Three funding mechanisms support the comprehensive response pillars: The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, managed by the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation for the immediate health needs; The “Global Humanitarian Response Plan” for the humanitarian appeal; and The United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for the socio-economic recovery.
About the UN Development System
The United Nations development system is the world’s largest international actor on social protection and
basic services. The UN System is present in 162 countries and territories and reaches tens of millions of people
through basic services, social transfers and other forms of social protection. The UN Development System has
extensive experience in supporting governments in developing social protection systems including social protection
floors and delivery of quality social services and to support such services across humanitarian and
development contexts. unsdg.un.org