(UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres
UN says Arab region can parlay COVID-19 recovery into better development
KUWAIT-- The United Nations (UN) believes that the coronavirus pandemic has provided the wider Arab region with an opportunity to build better, and address structural weaknesses, its chief said on Thursday.
"It is now time to prioritize life-saving health care to COVID-19 victims, respecting the call for a global ceasefire and ensure humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable," Antonio Guterres said in an online briefing focusing on how the Arab region can bounce back from the pandemic.
Immediate measures need to be taken to slow the spread of disease, end conflict and address the needs of the most vulnerable, the UN chief added, saying the region is already "rife with tensions and inequalities," which will adversely affect political and social stability.
He went on to list some of the catastrophic results the pandemic has yielded, prognosticating that the "regional economy would contract by more than five percent," in addition to other aftershocks including drops in oil prices, remittances and tourism revenue.
Striking a more positive tone, Guterres said the regionآ’s large number of youngsters can be the Arab worldآ’s most valuable asset, helping to ensure a vibrant civil society that prioritizes human rights, he said.
"Together, we can turn crisis into an opportunity, it will be good for the region and good for our world," he concluded.