AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest AIDS organization, calls on United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to immediately summon a meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – the UNSC must assume a proactive role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, something the global body has been conspicuously absent on thus far.
COVID-19 first appeared in 2019, which was followed by it being declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Jan. 30 with a subsequent pandemic declaration in March. It took the UNSC until July 1 to agree on its own resolution, which was long overdue given the ongoing devastation, in addition to the plan’s limited scope and modest impact.
“What we’re dealing with is analogous to what can easily be considered a third world war—and as the UN’s principal crisis management body, it’s imperative for the Security Council to meet and draft a plan that will lead to real action and change to stop the pandemic,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “COVID-19 is a common enemy to every citizen on the planet—but we have unfortunately proven that even under the most dire circumstances, we have been unable to unite to fight it. That must change, and the Council must lead the process.”
The UNSC has drawn stark criticism for its ineffectiveness throughout the current and past crises, most notably from the UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir who cites “competing interests,” as well as from French President Emmanuel Macron who recently stated that the Council “no longer produces useful solutions.”
“It took more than three months for countries with veto power [on the Council] to overcome their political charades enough to agree on a resolution; it held only a handful of meetings on the pandemic—the inaction and lack of a sense of urgency by the Security Council is simply unacceptable,” added Weinstein. “Secretary-General Guterres must call for an immediate emergency UNSC meeting and urge member states to create substantive change in dealing with COVID-19—the world’s greatest security threat. We greatly need it to do its job.”
While the Council has failed to adequately respond to major conflicts and crises, including Syria’s civil war, conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the novel coronavirus—it was successful in adding urgency to the global response during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. AHF urges it to draw on any and all past successes in hopes for a more promising way forward in the COVID-19 pandemic.