Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragedy, but it has also created a moment of possibility, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday, urging governments and businesses to work together to promote innovation and transformation.

“This is a moment of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to the most serious social and economic upheaval since the United Nations was created 75 years ago,” Guterres said in a video message to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Business Forum.

“Returning to old, discredited systems is out of the question,” Guterres said. “The pandemic is a tragedy — but it has also created a moment of possibility.”

The UN chief noted that governments and the private sector have already changed their working methods more quickly than ever before. “Everywhere, we see new thinking, innovation and transformation,” he said.

Guterres urged governments and businesses to work together to shift direction. “That is the only way to weather the pandemic, build resilience for the future and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Guterres added that equality, inclusiveness and sustainability are no longer nice-to-have, optional extras to build a more caring brand. “They are the indispensable keys to recovering from the pandemic and building healthy and prosperous economies and societies.”

The SDG business forum, held virtually on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, is a platform to discuss the role of the private sector in addressing the current economic landscape and to co-create lasting solutions for a more sustainable future.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

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