United Nations General Assembly
In Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
December 4, 2020
As the world responds to the global challenge of this pandemic, Pope Francis has repeatedly called for solidarity and for a common effort that must be based on an honest appraisal of its impact, especially on those in vulnerable situations. Based on the Pope’s exhortations, I would like to present a few key ideas for the world’s response to COVID-19.
Solidarity and common efforts: multilateralism
Faced with this worldwide challenge, the United Nations must live up to the hope that peoples have placed in it. No State is able to resolve the pandemic on its own . In this regard, the Holy See strongly encourages common efforts aimed at ensuring that proper medical care and effective vaccines, free from ethical concerns, are affordable and promptly available in sufficient quantities, also to developing countries.
Priority to the poor, the sick, and those in need
It is critical to acknowledge that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing social ills, and those on the peripheries of society bear the brunt of its consequences.
This situation risks intensifying chronic problems such as hunger, malnutrition, abuse, exploitation, child labor, and child marriage. The elderly and persons with disabilities, often relegated to the margins of societies, have had to endure heightened poverty, social isolation and discrimination, violence, abandonment and abuse. Children and young people, meanwhile, have had their schools closed. Violence against women and girls has also increased.
COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. It threatens safe resettlement pathways and the health security of those in overcrowded and under-resourced camps.
The world after COVID-19: a new economy
It is high time for the international community to reject an economic model based primarily or exclusively on profits and on the assumption that workers are exploitable or disposable means to that end. We cannot accept the continuation of a system that excludes millions from having primary goods, where economic and technological inequality rends the social fabric, and where the pursuit of unlimited and unbridled material progress threatens our common home . Is this not the opportune time to reconsider seriously whether funds spent on the stockpiling and modernization of weapons would not be more wisely invested in the advancement of integral human development?
The challenges of this crisis must be met with a spirit of co-responsibility and with the contribution of everyone.
Thank you for your kind attention.
 Cf. Pope Francis, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, 25 September 2020, calling to a “consolidation of multilateralism as the expression of a renewed sense of global co-responsibility, a solidarity grounded in justice and the attainment of peace and unity within the human family.”
 Cf. Pope Francis, Address at the General Audience, 26 August 2020.