UN Resident Coordinator Brian J. Williams' speech during the signing ceremony for EU aid to fight Covid-19 in Albania

Heads of EU and UN in Albania signed a 4-million-euro (around 4.3 million U.S. dollars) donation agreement to support Albania fight COVID-19

Thank you Ambassador Soreca. 

Dear Minister Manastirliu,

On Tuesday this week, the UN Secretary-General launched a global report on Covid-19.  He highlighted the unprecedented global nature of the crisis, and the risk it poses to human life now, and to development – and the achievement of SDGs – for years to come.

In launching the report, he noted that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected word...  and so what the world needs now is solidarity.

The magnitude of this solidarity must match the scale of the crisis, he said. It must be large-scale, coordinated and multi-later, with countries showing solidarity to the most vulnerable communities and nations. 

He did not mince his words.  To address Covid-19, the world will need a response that amounts to 10% of global GDP.

I am pleased to be here today – putting into action this appeal.

The EU has – once again, and thank you Amb Soreca for your leadership – demonstrated its solidarity with Albania and the Western Balkans and leadership for coordinated, multi-lateral action by rapidly allocating resources to bolster’s Albania’s response.

For its part, the Government of Albania is to be congratulated for its rapid and robust measures to enforce physical distancing, undertake public health testing and contact tracing, prepare medical facilities, and communicate critical information to the public, all with the aim to “flatten the curve”.  Congratulations Minister Manastirliu to you and the Prime Minister and the rest of the government for your collective leadership. 

The United Nations in Albania has been loudly supportive of these measures, and will continue to be so.  Flattening the curve buys Albania some time – some critical time that it can use to reinforce its medical systems to be even better prepared.  The support from the EU is therefore very timely.

The United Nations is please to support the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in its efforts.  UNOPS – with global recognition for its logistical and procurement capacity – has been engaged across the sub-region to assist. 

My colleague, Ms Freya von Groote, Director of the Vienna Office for United Nations Office for Project Services could not be here today of course because of Covid-19, but allow me to express on her behalf the complete commitment of UNOPS to work as fast as humanly possible in the circumstances on this vital equipment.

In fact it is a partnership on the UN side, with the World Health Organization accompanying also the Ministry of Health in its efforts to adjust on a day-by-day basis to the evolving needs to protect the people of Albania from Covid-19. 

It is precisely through partnerships like these that humanity can come together and protect itself from Covid-19. 

We look forward to putting this partnership into action.   

Speech by
Author
Brian J. Williams
Resident Coordinator
RCO
UN Resident Coordinator in Albania
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNECE
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
WHO
World Health Organization