U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a message of hope and healing for the new year to the hundreds of millions of people worldwide whose lives have been shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Guterres does not hide his sorrow at the difficulties engendered by this once-in-a-century pandemic. COVID-19, he says, has upended the lives of millions, plunging the world into suffering and grief. FILE – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, Nov. 20, 2020.He describes 2020 as a year of trials, tragedies and tears, a year that continues to create havoc and claim new victims as COVID-19 rages on. The pandemic, he says, has increased poverty, inequality and hunger to new heights.  
“But the new year lies ahead,” he says. “With it, we see rays of hope: People extending a helping hand to neighbors and strangers. Front-line workers giving their all. Scientists developing vaccines in record time. Countries making new commitments to prevent climate catastrophe.”   
Guterres says climate change and the pandemic are crises not easily overcome. He says it will take enormous work, commitment and above all a willingness of all people to work together for the same goal. 
“If we work together in unity and solidarity, these rays of hope can reach around the world. That is the lesson of this most difficult year. … Together, let us make peace among ourselves and with nature, tackle the climate crisis, stop the spread of COVID-19 and make 2021 a year of healing.”   
Guterres says 2021 can be a year of healing divisions that were made worse from the deadly infection and broken economies if people work together. He says the best New Year’s resolution for 2021 is to heal the planet. 

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