On 1 July 2020, the UN Security Council (SC) unanimously adopted Resolution 2532 (2020) on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world and its impact on international peace and security.
The adoption of the Resolution was preceded by intense activity on the topic by other UN organs. On 30 January 2020, the covid-19 outbreak was declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ by the Director-General of the WHO in accordance with Art. 12.1 of the International Health Regulations. Moreover, on 23 March 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an ‘immediate global ceasefire’ in order ‘to put armed conflict on lockdown’ and focus energies on tackling the pandemic. This was the first time the UN SC has called for a global ceasefire in connection with an international health emergency.
In the text of Resolution, the UN SC determined that ‘the unprecedented extent of the covid-19 pandemic is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security’ and demanded from all parties to armed conflicts on its agenda a ‘general and immediate cessation of hostilities’.However, not all conflict situations were covered by the SC’s appeal, as the scope of the global ceasefire should not apply to armed operations carried out against ISIL, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist entities designated by the SC.
The SC then called upon all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the provision of humanitarian assistance by impartial humanitarian actors.