Coronavirus could set world back for decades: Guterres
Published: 09:52 AM, 15 July 2020 Updated: 10:35 AM, 15 July 2020
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that COVID-19 is taking the world further away from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He has warned the coronavirus pandemic might set the world back "years and even decades" in terms of economic progress.
The UN chief made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a high-level political forum on progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Even before the coronavirus crisis hit, the world was not on track to deliver the goals by 2030, Guterres said.
"At a time when we desperately need to leap ahead, COVID-19 could set us back years and even decades, leaving countries with massive fiscal and growth challenges. The crisis is taking us further away from the SDGs," he said.
The coronavirus strikes at a time when the world is already facing challenges such as unacceptable poverty growth, rapid climate change and huge gaps in financing.
He added that "between 70 and 100 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty". He also warned that "some 265 million people could face acute food insecurity" by the end of the year.
"I am not here today to tell you that everything will be OK. We need to be honest with ourselves. The COVID-19 crisis is having devastating impacts because of our past and present failures" the UN chief said.