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The avalanche of actions needed to curb global crises

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that the world was facing a five-alarm fire that called for urgent and united global action to put it out.

“I want to start the year by raising five alarms – on COVID-19, global finance, climate action, cyber lawlessness and peace and security,” he told the UN General Assembly in a lengthy speech outlining his priorities. main. for the year 2022.

Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, he said the international community needs to go into a state of emergency especially in the rise of global vaccinations.

Manufacturers worldwide are now producing 1.5 billion doses a month, he noted. But the distribution is scandalously uneven and we need to turn vaccines into vaccines everywhere.

Vaccination of the world

The World Health Organization said last week that 90% of countries did not meet their target to vaccinate 40% of their population by the end of 2021. In Africa alone, about one billion people have not yet received a single dose of the vaccine. .

People register to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center, in Peshawar, Pakistan, January 21, 2022.

People register to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center, in Peshawar, Pakistan, January 21, 2022.

The UN chief called on vaccine countries and manufacturers to prioritize the supply of COVAX, the global vaccine coalition that is supplying developing countries. COVAX has delivered one billion doses worldwide so far.

Guterres had strong words for the international financial system, which he said needed an urgent need for comprehensive reform.

Let’s put it this way: the global financial system is morally bankrupt, said the world chief diplomat. It favors the rich and punishes the poor.

He said developing countries in particular have failed in one of its key functions, ensuring stability and supporting economies through financial shocks, such as those caused by the pandemic.

If we do not take action now, record inflation, rising energy prices and extortionate interest rates could lead to frequent debt failures in 2022, with dire consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable, he warned. Divergence between developed and developing countries is becoming a systematic recipe for instability, crisis and forced migration.

Call for climate action

The UN chief has been a leader in the global movement for climate action and he reiterated his concern that the planet is far from meeting the minimum targets for reducing global warming.

This year we need an avalanche of action, he said. All developed and emerging economies with large emissions need to do much more, much faster, to change the math and reduce suffering by taking on common but differentiated responsibilities.

FILE - A drop of water falls from an iceberg melting into the Nuup Kangerlua fjord near Nuuk in southwest Greenland, August 1, 2017.

FILE – A drop of water falls from an iceberg melting into the Nuup Kangerlua fjord near Nuuk in southwest Greenland, August 1, 2017.

He said this includes gradually phasing out coal use and increasing the transition to renewable energy, including investing $ 5 trillion a year in renewable infrastructure by 2030. It also means rich countries are stepping up commitments. their financial to adaptation measures in poorer countries.

The Secretary-General said these three challenges, the pandemic, the global financial system and the climate crisis, exacerbate social problems.

They undermine human rights and are a powder keg for unrest and social instability, he said.

The Secretary-General also called for better management of digital technologies, including strong regulatory frameworks and access to internet connections for the nearly 3 billion people who do not have them.

Push for global stability

Guterres said conflict prevention is at the center of his agenda.

I pledge to spare no effort to mobilize the international community and increase our push for peace, Guterres said, noting the conflicts and crises from Afghanistan to Ethiopia, Myanmar and Mali.

Geopolitical divisions must be managed to avoid chaos across the globe, he demanded. We need to maximize areas for cooperation by creating strong mechanisms to avoid escalation.

He said the United Nations needs a more united Security Council to address international peace and security issues, as well as the financial and moral support of all 193 member states.

Now is not the time to simply list and cry out the challenges, he acknowledged. Now is the time to act.

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