"If ever there was need for partnership, it is now," Akram said in his opening remarks to the virtual gathering.
Highlighting the UN’s unique role in bringing together countries, companies and civil society, he outlined several areas where partnerships can be used to respond to COVID-19 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Akram said that defeating the pandemic is the top priority, which calls for universal and equitable access to vaccines and related materials, equipment and technologies.
He said that countries also must work together to prevent millions from descending into extreme poverty and destitution.
"This means helping the poorest people with direct and indirect economic support and social safety nets," Akram said.
"It means providing the poorest countries with fiscal space through debt relief, emergency grants and concession financing to save lives and livelihoods," he said.
He said while richer countries have devoted some $17 trillion to revive their economies, developing nations will need around $4.3 trillion to not only recover from the pandemic but to get back on the path to sustainable development.