On 25 March, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will launch a COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. The Secretary-General will be joined by the UN’s Under- Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
We anticipate making embargoed copies of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan available on Tuesday 24 March. UN-accredited journalists have the opportunity to submit questions to members of the panel in advance. These will be put to the panel during the launch event by the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming.
At a joint virtual press briefing, Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, launched a $2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan, to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect the millions most at risk.
Having gained a foothold in 195 countries with more than 400,000 reported cases and close to 20,000 reported deaths, COVID-19 is reaching more and more areas of the world grappling with conflict, natural disasters and climate change.
The UN chief stressed that a global approach is the only way to fight the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back”, he said, underscoring that “individual country responses are not going to be enough”.
Assisting the “ultra-vulnerable” – the millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves – is not only “a matter of basic human solidarity” but also crucial for combating the virus, according to Mr. Guterres.
“This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable”, he stated.
Organized by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the interagency plan brings together existing appeals from WHO and other UN partners as well as identifies new needs.
Properly funded, it will save many lives and arm humanitarian agencies with laboratory supplies for testing and medical equipment to treat the sick while protecting health care workers.
“The plan also includes additional measures to support host communities that continue to generously open their homes and towns to refugees and displaced persons”, explained the Secretary-General.