African countries have “demonstrated commendable leadership” battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but more nations across the continent where conflict prevails, should heed the UN call for a global ceasefire to push back the deadly virus, said the Secretary-General on Monday.
Marking Africa Day, António Guterres said in his message that the pandemic “threatens to derail progress” which would enable countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development targets set out in the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.
The AU has established a task force to develop a continent-wide strategy and appointed special envoys to mobilize international support, said the UN chief.
Its Peace and Security Council has also taken steps to counter the negative impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of critical peace agreements and reconciliation efforts.
He noted that the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention established a response fund, while African Member States have undertaken “robust measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the socio-economic impacts.”
Mr. Guterres welcomed the AU’s support for his global ceasefire call, an imperative that also reflects the AU’s 2020 theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”
“Armed groups in Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan have responded to the call and declared unilateral ceasefires. I implore other armed movements and governments in Africa to do likewise. “
“I also welcome the support of African countries for my call for peace in the home, and an end to all forms of violence, including against women and girls”, he continued.