United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Tuesday rang the alarm during his speech at the 76th General Assembly in New York City, saying the world “has never been so threatened or so divided” before.
The Portuguese Guterres insisted “the world must wake up; we are on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction.”
“We are faced with the greatest cascade of the crisis of our life. The Covid-19 pandemic has exaggerated glaring inequalities. The climate crisis is hitting the planet, he underscored.
Guterres made a gloomy analysis of current world affairs due to the lack of unity in the response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change amid growing inequalities, in addition to crises in places like Afghanistan. Yemen and Ethiopia, and urged the United States and China to work out their differences through dialogue.
I fear that our world is moving towards two different sets of economic, commercial, financial and technological rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence and, ultimately, two different military and geopolitical strategies, Guterres said.
“This is a recipe for trouble. It would be much less predictable than the Cold War. To restore confidence and inspire hope, we need cooperation,” he added.
“We need to dialogue. We need understanding, We need to invest in the prevention, maintenance and consolidation of peace. We need progress in nuclear disarmament and in our efforts to fight terrorism. We need actions anchored in respect for human rights,” he went on.
Guterres insisted the world was facing a dead end and that this is our moment; a moment of transformation; an era to rekindle multilateralism; an era of possibility. Let us restore confidence. Let us inspire hope.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Secretary-General also highlighted the many armed conflicts worldwide and his organization's efforts towards peace in the world, which include the search for solutions to ongoing disputes.
In Guterres' view, equality for women is essentially a question of power. If we want to solve the most difficult problems of our time, we must urgently transform our male-dominated world and shift the balance of power, he explained.
He also insisted on the need to fight climate change by cutting down the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. He spoke of a planetary emergency and called the most polluting nations to contribute to an improvement in this matter.
Guterres also took on the gap between rich and poor countries and stressed African nations were the ones that suffered the most from this situation. “We must show children, young people, that, despite the seriousness of the situation, the world has a plan - and that governments are committed to its implementation,” he said as he called for global solidarity so that less favoured nations can get out of poverty more quickly with a more even distribution of wealth.
Human rights are under fire. Science is under attack. And economic lifeguards for the most vulnerable arrive too little and too late ... if ever. Solidarity is absent, just when we need it most,” he stressed.
“Interdependence is the logic of the 21st century. And it is the basic principle of the United Nations. This is our moment. A moment of transformation. An era to revive multilateralism. An era of possibilities. Let's restore trust. Let us inspire hope. And let's start right now,” he concluded.