Responsible leadership, good citizenship key determinants of COVID-19's impact: UN report


File photo: CGTN

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Responsible leadership and good citizenship have been key determinants of COVID-19's impact, according to a UN-backed report published on Monday.

"Systems are only as effective as the people who use them," said a report titled "A World in Disorder," issued by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), an independent monitoring and accountability body which prepares for global health crises.

The report finds that although COVID-19 has demonstrated the deep interconnectedness of the world through economics, trade, information and travel, one of the greatest challenges of the pandemic has been faltering multilateral cooperation.

"Viruses don't respect borders. The only way out of this devastating pandemic is along the path of collective action, which demands a strong and effective multilateral system," said GPMB co-chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, who also served as the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) from 1998 to 2003.

"The UN system, which includes the WHO, was created after World War Two and has helped make the world a better place for billions of people," she said, adding that "it needs to be defended, strengthened, and revitalized, not attacked and undermined."

The pandemic has not only shone a spotlight on the fragility of the world's health systems, but on the global economy as well, underscoring the urgency of investing in preparedness to avoid similar tragedies in the future, said the report.

To bring order out of chaos, the report highlights the actions needed to stem the pandemic and avoid the next catastrophe, which calls for responsible leadership, engaged citizenship, strong and agile health security systems, sustained investment, and robust global governance for preparedness.

"This will not be the last pandemic, nor the last global health emergency," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that "with the right political and financial investments now, we can prevent and mitigate future pandemics and protect our future and the future of generations to come."