United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has used the Nelson Mandela Lecture to  call for a New Social Contract to create equal opportunities for all.

Guterres says the world needs reformed global institutions so that all nations – including developing countries – can prosper.

Developing countries – mainly in Africa and Latin America – have been calling for the reform of the United Nations and the global financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.

Guterres says the world needs an inclusive model of governance. The world’s chief diplomat presented the 2020 International Mandela Day Lecture under the theme – Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era.

The day is celebrated annually on Madiba’s birthday. In his virtual address Guterres says although the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a human tragedy, it has created a generational opportunity.

“An opportunity to build back a more equal and sustainable world. The response to the pandemic, and to the widespread discontent that preceded it, must be based on a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal that create equal opportunities for all and respect the rights and freedoms of all. This is the only way that we will meet the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreements that address precisely the failures that are being exposed and exploited by the pandemic.”

Nelson Mandela Foundation Chief Executive Sello Hatang opened the first online Mandela Lecture.

He paid tribute to the late diplomat, Zindzi Mandela, who tested COVID 19 positive a day before she passed on.

Hatang described Zindzi Mandela as a special human being and dedicated the 18th edition of the Mandela lecture to her. He also said that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed inequality, racism and the destruction of the environment that is crippling the world.

“COVID-19 has brought with it a sense of both peril and promise. It has exposed in cruel ways what human societies had come to normalise – inequality, racism and ecological depredation. It has taken many lives and destroyed many more and it is calling us to change human behaviours fundamentally.”

Below is the full annual lecture: