UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called for transformative, inclusive, and sustainable recovery from Covid-19 to end poverty and create a world of justice, dignity and opportunity for all.
"Poverty is a moral indictment of our times. For the first time in two decades, extreme poverty is on the rise.
Last year, around 120 million people fell into poverty as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on economies and societies," he said in a message for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which falls on Sunday.
"A lopsided recovery is further deepening inequalities between the Global North and South. Solidarity is missing in action -- just when we need it most," he said.
Vaccine inequality is allowing variants to develop and run wild, condemning the world to millions more deaths, and prolonging an economic slowdown that could cost trillions of dollars. There is a need to end this outrage, tackle debt distress and ensure recovery investment in countries with the greatest need, he said. The world needs a three-pronged approach to global recovery, said Guterres.
First, the recovery must be transformative instead of going back to the endemic structural disadvantages and inequalities that perpetuated poverty even before the pandemic. "We need stronger political will and partnerships to achieve universal social protection by 2030 and invest in job re-skilling for the growing green economy. And we must invest in quality jobs in the care economy, which will promote greater equality and ensure everyone receives the dignified care they deserve," he said.
Second, the recovery must be inclusive, because an uneven recovery is leaving much of humanity behind, increasing the vulnerability of already marginalized groups, and pushing the Sustainable Development Goals ever further out of reach, Guterres said.
Third, the recovery must be sustainable to build a resilient, decarbonized and net-zero world, he said.