Ahead of his “state of the world” speech on Tuesday at the opening of the annual United Nations General Assembly leaders’ meeting in New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the world leaders of the challenges ahead that need urgent action as the world today is in “great peril.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that climate change is endangering the planet during meetings leading up to the start of the annual United Nations General Assembly leaders’ meeting. He was quoted by various news media as saying that the world leaders face the “immense” undertaking of saving the planet, which is “literally on fire.”
It provided a peek into his “state of the world” address, which UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric described as “a sober, substantive and solutions-focused report card” for a world “where geopolitical divides are putting all of us at risk.”
The warning by UN head Guterres comes at a time when the world is not only dealing with Climate Change and the COVID-19 pandemic but also facing delicate geopolitics with the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The UN General Assembly leaders’ meeting is speculated to be overshadowed by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, the first major conflict on the European continent since the end of the Second World War.
The 77th UN General Assembly world leaders’ meeting, also called the General Debate, will be the first in-person meeting of all global leaders in three years, after the pandemic. In 2020, the meeting was completely held online while in 2021 it took place in hybrid mode with some pre-recorded speeches.
In this meeting, nearly 150 world leaders are expected to speak in person, with the singular exception being made for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
On Friday, the assembly voted to allow the Ukrainian President to pre-record his speech due to uncontrollable circumstances emerging due to the ongoing Russian invasion that requires him to carry out his “national defense and security duties.” The decision was taken amidst objections from Russia and some allies.
The Ukraine war has had effects beyond the European continent, the global supply chain of food grain was disrupted leading to a global food security crisis and a Cold war-like tussle between Russia and the West.
Currently, the West has heavily sanctioned Russian exports, including oil unleashing a scramble among countries to secure their energy requirements.
Additionally, UN chief Guterres asked the leaders to address some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as conflicts and climate crises, rising poverty and inequality, and deepening rifts among major powers, particularly in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He further mentioned how developing nations’ “lack of access to finance” makes it difficult for them to recover from the pandemic, “a crisis not seen in a generation,” The lack of funding has prevented advancements in women’s rights, health, and education.
On Monday at the meeting for the promotion of UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) for 2030, UN chief Guterres reiterated the need to stay focused on long-term development priorities like eradicating extreme poverty, ensuring quality education for all children, and achieving gender equality, as the current world geopolitical climate makes it tempting to put them aside.
He appealed to the public and private sectors for finance and investment in the SDGs and for the countries to work towards peace.
The Ukraine War led to the emergence of insecurities among the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, as Russia pushes ahead with its invasion of Ukraine. These countries fear a similar fate with many world leaders trying to limit the war and restore back peace in the east European nation.
Although the topic of the Ukraine War will be one of the main agenda in leaders’ meetings, sources say that Diplomats are not hopeful of any major breakthroughs.
Many heads of the states are expected to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly leaders’ meeting.
Brazil will open the General Assembly session with a speech as has been customary for the past seven decades after it voluntarily offered to do so during the early General Assembly meetings.
The US as the host is the next to speak, but Senegalese President Macky Sall is anticipated to fill the spot while US President Joe Biden is in London for the queen’s funeral.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be attending the meeting instead External Affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar will be representing India.
This year has so far been filled with many conflicts and increased tensions on the world stage, like the Taiwan visit by Nancy Pelosi, North Korean hypersonic missile tests, and Armenia-Azerbaijan border clashes to name a few.
The annual United Nations General Assembly leaders’ meeting in New York is expected to address some of the challenges faced today by the world as pointed out by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
As pointed out by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, world leaders are expected to address some of the challenges faced today by the world at the United Nations General Assembly leaders’ meeting in New York.