Emphasizing that international cooperation is vital, the UN chief issued a dire warning to leaders around the world on Tuesday, declaring that the planet is becoming increasingly vulnerable to growing global challenges and geopolitical tensions – and warning Granted that “we seem unable to come together to respond.”
Addressing presidents and prime ministers, kings and ministers at the opening of the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlined a list of “existential threats” facing the world, from climate change to disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence. Marked on. ,
“Our world is becoming unsustainable. Geopolitical tension is increasing. Global challenges are increasing. And we seem unable to come together to respond,” Guterres told the people who run the world’s countries. He said the United Nations – and the way countries cooperate – must evolve to meet the era.
“The world has changed. Our institutions have not done so,” Guterres said before the opening of the UN General Assembly general debate. “We cannot effectively solve problems if institutions do not reflect the world as it is. Instead of solving problems, they risk becoming part of the problem.
All this is happening. Guterres said the world is undergoing a “chaotic transition” and is rapidly moving from a brief period of “unipolarity” – dominated by a single power, the United States – to a multipolar world with multiple power centres. That said, it is positive in many ways.
Advocating an effective ‘multipolar’ world
Guterres said a multipolar world needs strong, effective multilateral institutions where all countries work together to solve the world’s challenges. But existing institutions built on the ashes of World War II, including the United Nations and its powerful Security Council and major global financial institutions, have not changed substantially.
Guterres said the alternative is not to maintain the status quo if these institutions are not reformed to reflect today’s world; This is “forward fragmentation”. He said: “It’s recovery or breakdown.”
Guterres warned that divisions between economic and military powers, between the countries of the developed North and the developing South, and between the global West and East are deepening.
He said, “We are approaching a great fracture in the economic and financial systems and trade relations, which threatens the single, open Internet.” “(One) with different strategies on technology and artificial intelligence, and potentially with a clash in security frameworks.”
He said the world now needs action – not just more words – and agreement to tackle the world’s challenges and adopt necessary reforms.
Many leaders, but the chief is missing
145 leaders are scheduled to speak at this year’s week-long high-level UN gathering, which is the first plenary meeting of world leaders after travel was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a big number which reflects many crises and conflicts.
But for the first time in years, US President Joe Biden, who spoke immediately after Guterres, is the only leader among the five powerful countries with a veto on the UN Security Council to address the 193-member assembly.
China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Rishi Sunak will all not attend the United Nations this year. It should put the spotlight on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will make his first appearance on the assembly floor on Tuesday, and on Biden, who will be particularly watched for his views on China, Russia and Ukraine.
Guterres sharply criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, telling world leaders that it was “Exhibit A” of countries breaking their pledge to uphold the UN Charter’s pledge for peace – and the sovereignty of all member states and Has the mandate to guarantee territorial integrity.
At this year’s weeklong session, which is the first plenary meeting of world leaders after travel was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, 145 leaders are scheduled to speak. This is a big number which reflects many crises and conflicts.
The absence of the leaders of the four Security Council powers has sparked anger among developing countries, who want major global players to listen to their demands – including calls for money to bridge the growing gap between the world’s rich and poor. Is.
The G77, the main UN grouping of developing countries, which now has 134 members including China, worked hard to focus this year’s global gathering on the 17 UN Goals adopted by world leaders in 2015. They are badly behind schedule at the halfway point of 2030.
At the two-day summit to launch action to achieve the goals, Guterres pointed to sobering findings in a UN report in July. He said about 15% of the 140 specific targets are on track to be achieved in the 17 goals. Many are headed in the wrong direction, and none are expected to be achieved in the next seven years.
He described a ‘sad snapshot’ of the world
Guterres began his address to the world by calling heavy rains and a dam collapse in the Libyan city of Derna as “a tragic snapshot of the state of our world.” Thousands of people lost their lives – victims of years of conflict, climate chaos, leaders near and far who failed to restore peace, and all that “indifference”.
He said the world needs to tackle the worsening climate emergency, increasing conflict, “dramatic technological disruption” and a global livelihoods crisis that is increasing hunger and poverty.
At the two-day summit to launch action to achieve the goals, Guterres pointed to sobering findings in a UN report in July. He said 15% of the approximately 140 specific targets are on target to achieve the UN’s 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”. Many are headed in the wrong direction, and none are expected to be achieved in the next seven years.
The overarching goals include ending extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring every child has access to quality secondary education, achieving gender equality and making significant progress in tackling climate change – all by 2030.
The report says that at the current rate, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty and 84 million children will not even attend primary school in 2030 – and it will take 286 years to reach parity between men and women.
Leaders of 193 UN member states unanimously adopted a political declaration that recognizes that the targets are “at risk.” But it more than a dozen times, in different ways, confirms the leaders’ commitment to achieving the goals, reiterating their personal importance.
The declaration lacked specifics, but Guterres said he was “deeply encouraged” by the commitment of developing countries to improve access to “the essential fuel for SDG progress: finance.” He pointed to his support for a stimulus package of at least $500 billion per year to boost the goals, which are aimed at addressing the challenging market conditions facing developing countries.
AP Chief United Nations Correspondent Edith M. Lederer has been covering international affairs for more than 50 years.