UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a horrific warning that the world is moving in the wrong direction and faces “a crucial moment” where continuing business as usual could lead to the disruption of global order and a future. of permanent crisis. Changing the course could signal progress towards a greener and more secure future, he said.
The UN chief said the nations and peoples of the world must reverse today’s dangerous trends and choose the “scenario of progress”.
The world is under “great stress” on almost every front, he said, and the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call demonstrating the failure of nations to unite and make common decisions to help all people face a life-threatening global emergency.
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Guterres said this “paralysis” extends beyond COVID-19 to failures to tackle the climate crisis and “our suicidal struggle against nature and declining biodiversity”, “uncontrolled inequality” that undermines the cohesion of societies and advances in technology. guards to protect us from its unintended consequences. “
In other signs of a more chaotic and insecure world, he noted the rise of poverty, hunger and gender inequality after decades of decline, the extreme risk to human and planet life from nuclear war and climate change, and inequality, discrimination and injustice putting people on the streets to protest “while conspiracy theories and lies foster deep divisions within societies”.
In a horizon scan report presented at the General Assembly and at a press conference on Friday, Guterres said his vision for the “progress scenario” in a greener and more secure world is guided by the “working principle of together, recognizing that we owe it to each other and that no community or country, however powerful, will be able to solve its own challenges. “
The report – “Our Common Agenda” – is a response to last year’s statement by world leaders on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the request from the 193 member states of the Assembly for the UN chief to make recommendations to address the challenges to global governance With
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In today’s world, Guterres said, “Global decision-making is obsessed with immediate benefits, ignoring the long-term consequences of decisions — or indecision.”
He said multilateral institutions have proven to be “too weak and fragmented for today’s global challenges and risks”.
What is needed, Guterres said, are not new multilateral bureaucracies, but more effective multilateral institutions, including a United Nations 2.0, the most important for the 21st century.
“And we need tooth multilateralism,” he said.
In the report outlining his vision to “fix” the world, Guterres said immediate action was needed to protect the planet’s “most precious” assets from the oceans to outer space, to ensure it is livable and to realize the aspirations of people everywhere for peace and good health.
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He called for an immediate global vaccination plan implemented by an emergency task force, saying “the $ 50 billion investment in vaccinations could now add about $ 9 trillion to the global economy over the next four years.”
The report proposes to hold a Global Summit of the Future in 2023 that will not only look at all of these issues, but will go beyond traditional security threats “to strengthen global governance of digital technology and outer space, and to manage future risks and crises “. he said.
He would also consider a New Agenda for Peace including measures to reduce strategic risks from nuclear weapons, cyber warfare and deadly autonomous weapons, which Guterres called one of humanity’s most destabilizing inventions.
The secretary-general said a new United Nations Laboratory for the Future would publish regular reports “on megatic trends and risks”.
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He said the COVID-19 pandemic also exposed shortcomings in the global financial system.
To address these weaknesses and to integrate the global financial system with other global strengths, Guterres proposed holding biennial summits of the top 20 economies at the G20, the UN Economic and Social Council, the heads of international financial institutions including the Monetary Fund. International and World Bank and UN Secretary General.
He also called for the correction of “a big blind spot in the way we measure progress and prosperity”, saying that Gross Domestic Product or GDP fails to account for the “incalculable social and environmental damage that can be caused by the pursuit of profit “.
“My report calls for new metrics that value the life and well-being of many of the short-term benefits to those few,” Guterres said.
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He also calls for a new Emergency Platform that would automatically boost large-scale crises involving governments, the UN system, international financial institutions, civil society, the private sector and others, he said.
Guterres also proposed the “reuse” of the United Nations Trust Council, whose work has largely been completed, “to establish an intergovernmental body for intergenerational affairs” that would be a platform to take into account the interests of the entire human family. , the present and the future.
As part of a new focus on the world’s youth and future generations, Guterres said he intends to appoint a special envoy for future generations to secure the interests of those born in the 21st century and create an Office of United Nations Youth Program.
Saying that many of the world’s concerns are rooted in growing poverty and inequality, Guterres noted that the 10 richest people saw their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the COVID-19 pandemic began while 55 percent of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, “are one step away from poverty, without any social protection.”
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To address the threats to social stability, the UN chief recommended a series of measures “to ensure universal health coverage, education, housing, decent work and income protection for all, everywhere”.
Guterres proposed holding a World Social Summit in 2025 on global efforts to address these issues and repair the social structure.
The Secretary-General also proposed global action to address misinformation and conspiracy theories and to promote facts, science and “integrity” in public discourse.
“We have to make the lie wrong again,” Guterres said.
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