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Coronavirus: After months-long delay, UN Security Council to discuss COVID-19 today

News Agencies | Updated on: 9 April 2020, 15:04 IST

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members will on Thursday convene a closed-door meeting with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the COVID-19 via videoconferencing.

The meeting is expected to focus on the Secretary-General's appeal for a global ceasefire and the pandemic's impact on Council agenda situations, including peacekeeping operations, special political missions and humanitarian responses, according to What's In Blue, a series of insights produced by Security Council Report on evolving Security Council actions.

Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, the 15-member Security Council has not met even once or come up with a united response or resolution to the pandemic, mostly due to a stand-off between the US and China over the origin of the virus, which has infected at least 1.5 million people globally and killed more than 80,000 others.

Last week, nine member states of the UNSC requested to discuss the global health emergency caused by the coronavirus and its impact on UN operations across the world. Guterres later confirmed that he is going to brief the Security Council on the matter.

The session comes as Council members have been discussing two separate draft resolutions on COVID-19 -- a reported French-led draft resolution that has been discussed exclusively among the P5, and, more recently, a Tunisian-produced draft resolution that elected members have been negotiating, the website said.

A resolution could galvanise the global community towards a response coalesced around international security against COVID-19, it added.

Dominican Republic took over the presidency of the UNSC on April 1 from China which held the chair till March 31.

In a report last week providing an update on his global ceasefire appeal, Guterres described the COVID-19 pandemic as "the greatest test the world has faced since the formation of the United Nations", which "has and will have profound social, economic and political consequences, including relating to international peace and security".

In his global appeal, the Secretary-General further highlighted the particular challenges to conflict-affected countries where "health systems have collapsed," "health professionals are few in number and have often been targeted", and refugees and displaced persons are "doubly vulnerable".

In his briefing today, Guterres is also likely to focus on the pandemic's impact on and risks to Council agenda situations. He is also expected to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on UN peace operations, which has been suspended till June 30 in view of the rapid virus spread and their ability to fully carry out their mandated activities.


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First published: 9 April 2020, 15:04 IST