Launch of COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan and UN Emergency Appeal

There is no doubt that vulnerable populations and groups in countries with weaker health systems are at great risk.

Launch of COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan and UN Emergency Appeal

15 May 2020

Remarks by Dr Coumba Mar Gadio United Nations Resident Coordinator, Zambia

  • Your Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Ms Inonge Wina, MP
  • Honorable Ministers present
  • Permanent Secretaries here present
  • Directors and Senior Government Official here present
  • Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of Missions accredited to the Republic of Zambia
  • Colleagues from the UN family
  • Cooperating partners
  • INGO and Civil society partners
  • Media
  • Ladies and gentlemen
  • On behalf of the UN System in Zambia and on my own behalf, I am honoured and pleased to co-launch the COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan and the UN Emergency Appeal with Her honour the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Ms. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, and to welcome all of you today to this important occasion;
  • Firstly, I wish to thank the Government of the Republic of Zambia for taking the lead in scaling up the response and putting preventive measures in place to stop the further spread of the virus;
  • I also wish to commend the Government for quickly realizing a need for a multisectoral response to COVID-19 beyond a health response to help address the socioeconomic aspects of the epidemic.

Your Honour, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  • The world faces an unprecedented threat from COVID-19;
  • According to WHO, as of yesterday 14 May 2020, globally 4,482,962 COVID-19 confirmed cases were recorded, with 300,397 confirmed deaths in 216 countries, areas or territories with cases. Africa has recorded a total of 72,379 COVID-19 confirmed cases with over 2,400 confirmed deaths with over 25,200 recoveries. So far, Zambia has recorded at total of 654 COVID-19 confirmed cases, 124 recoveries, 7 confirmed deaths with 523 cases still active;
  • For the UN, this is the most challenging crisis the world has faced since the Second World War;
  • It is a global health crisis unlike any other - one that is spreading human suffering, destabilizing the global economy and upsetting the lives of billions of people around the world;
  • The UN is particularly concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations and groups such as those on low-income, women, migrants, refugees, people living with HIV and Aids, and the elderly;
  • There is no doubt that vulnerable populations and groups in countries with weaker health systems are at great risk.

Your Honour, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  • Although the numbers of those that have died so far due to coronavirus are mercifully low in Zambia in comparison to other countries, this does not mean that the pandemic is not a grave threat;
  • COVID-19 pandemic is still evolving as evidenced by the country reporting spikes in new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nakonde district on Saturday 9th May 2020 and yesterday 14 May totaling to 76 and 196 positive new cases respectively;
  • Nakonde district has now become an epicenter - Chirundu another border and transit district reported 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday;
  • Africa and Zambia in particular, may still be at the start of the pandemic and therefore the launch of the COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response and the UN Emergency Appeal today is timely;
  • However, with this evolving context, collectively we need to double-up our efforts in responding to COVID-19.

Your Honour, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it is affecting societies and economies at their core;
  • The UN is happy to note that the COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan and the UN Emergency appeal have taken into consideration the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic;
  • While the impact of the pandemic will vary from country to country, it will most likely increase poverty and inequalities at a global scale, making achievement of SDGs even more urgent;
  • Without urgent socio-economic responses, global suffering will escalate, jeopardizing lives and livelihoods for years to come;
  • Immediate development responses in this crisis must be undertaken with an eye to the future;
  • Development trajectories in the long-term will be affected by the choices countries make now and the support they receive.

Your Honour, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I wish to bring to your attention that with the valued support and collaboration of our Cooperating Partners, the UN, delivering as one, so far has supported:

    • Formulation of the health COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, and Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan;
    • Resource mobilization;
    • Risk communication and community engagement;
    • Training of technical staff;
    • Strengthening surveillance in communities;
    • Procurement of personal protective equipment and;
    • Strengthening infection prevention measures;
    • water and sanitation.

Your Honour, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  • The UN has developed an Emergency Appeal to support and complement the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to response to COVID-19;
  • The Emergency Appeal is a UN-led plan developed in close consultation with government line ministries, NGOs, Cooperating Partners and other Key stakeholders;
  • The Appeal covers a six- month period from April to September 2020 with a total budget requirement of USD 132.9 million for most urgent and lifesaving interventions necessary to reduce the impact of COVID-19;
  • The UN Emergency Appeal will also support the already existing COVID-19 public health response which requires additional resources to provide lifesaving activities to those affected by the pandemic.

Your Honour, excellencies,

  • I would therefore like to take this opportunity, as part of the resource mobilization, to kindly request Cooperating Partners to support the UN Emergency Appeal whose purpose is to facilitate the operationalization and implementation of the COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan;
  • Your financial support will be critical to enable the UN and implementing partners (INGO and Local NGOs) on the ground to deliver timely and adequate lifesaving interventions to respond to and put preventive measures in place to stop the further spread of the virus;
  • The requested support through this Appeal, will enable us to reach more women, men and children who are at risk of the COVID-19 pandemic with preventative measures as well as those already affected with appropriate support in addition to ongoing efforts by the government and other actors;
  • I wish to thank Cooperating Partners for the generous funding you have already provided or pledged or committed to COVID-19 response to the Government, UN agencies and other implementing partners;
  • With the lessons learned from the implementation of the Humanitarian Response Plan on the need to have a well-structured funding mechanism, and in line with the COVID 19 Response and Recovery Fund launched by the UN Secretary General his Excellency Antonio Guterres in early April to catalyze joint actions by UN country teams; I wish to encourage all Cooperating Partners to use the suggested joint funding mechanism to enhance accountability, transparency and coordination in addition to their resources already reprogrammed to respond to COVID 19.

Your Honour Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  • This is essentially a human crisis, most fundamentally, we need to focus on people especially the most vulnerable
  • On behalf of the UN System in Zambia, I wish to send our sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones to this disease
  • I conclude by saying that we all have a role to play to protect lives and stop the virus. We are in this together and together we shall overcome COVID-19!

I thank You.

Speech by
Author
Coumba Mar Gadio
Resident Coordinator
RCO
Coumba Mar Gadio, PhD
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN
United Nations