UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for multilateralism and reformed global governance to tackle global threats.
"The COVID-19 pandemic provides overwhelming evidence that we need more -- and more effective -- multilateralism, with vision, ambition and impact. We cannot respond to this crisis by going back to what was or withdrawing into national shells. We need more international cooperation and stronger international institutions," he told the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in a pre-recorded video message.
He stressed the need to address the inequalities at the foundations of global power relations.
The nations that came out on top more than seven decades ago have refused to contemplate reforms. The composition and voting rights in the UN Security Council and the boards of the Bretton Woods system are a case in point, he said.
Many African countries did not even exist as independent states 75 years ago when the United Nations was founded. They deserve their rightful place at the global table. The developing world more broadly must have a far stronger voice in global decision-making. Any effort to improve global governance must take this into account, said Guterres.
"Reforming global governance must be one step toward creating a fairer world that can solve shared problems before they overwhelm us. We need global governance structures that deliver on critical global public goods, including public health, climate action, sustainable development, and peace."
In addition to more inclusive and equal participation in global institutions, there is a need for a global financial architecture that recognizes the need for solidarity in the face of global threats. A more inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system will enable developing countries to move up global value chains, he said.
Multilateral cooperation should be firmly based on the universal values of community, solidarity, equality and humanity, recognizing the fundamental human rights of all and providing opportunities for all, he said.
Guterres repeated his call for a multilateralism that is networked and inclusive.
21st-century multilateralism must be networked. It should link the UN family with other global institutions, from international financial institutions to regional organizations and trade alliances. And 21st-century multilateralism must be inclusive. Today's United Nations must go beyond governments to recognize the role of civil society, regions and cities, business, and academic institutions, he said.
"Today's crisis can and must be turned into an opportunity for change," he said. "The COVID-19 crisis has shown above all the urgent need for human solidarity. Global governance must be based on a recognition that such solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is in everyone's interests. We can only tackle shared threats through shared resolve."