UN chief warns global leaders: World is in ‘great peril’


In an alarming assessment, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told world leaders on Tuesday that nations are “stalemate in a state of colossal global dysfunction” and are not prepared to ready or willing to deal with the great challenges that threaten the future of humanity and the fate of the planet.

Addressing the opening of the annual high-level meeting of the General Assembly, the head of the United Nations pointed to the war in Ukraine, increasing conflicts in the world, the climate emergency, the poor financial situation. currencies of developing countries, and the recent reversal of progress by the United Nations. aims to end extreme poverty and provide quality education for all children.

“Our world is in danger – and crippled,” Guterres said.

But he says there is hope.

Stressing that cooperation and dialogue are the only way forward, he warned that “no power or group alone can take the blows.”

“Let’s work as one, as a union of the world, as united nations,” he urged leaders gathered in the vast hall of the General Assembly.

THIS IS A HOT NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s previous story follows.

United Nations (AP) – Warning that the world is in “great danger,” the head of the United Nations said leaders met face-to-face for the first time in three years to resolve conflict and tragedy. climate change, increasing poverty and inequality – and resolving the great power divide that has worsened since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In his remarks and remarks before the start of the leaders’ meeting on Tuesday, Secretary General Antonio Guterres cited the “enormous” task of not just saving the planet, “which is on fire in the truest sense of the word.” black”, but also to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. He also pointed to the “lack of financial access for developing countries to recover – a crisis not seen in a generation” that has undermined education, health and women’s rights. lost.

Mr. Guterres will deliver a speech on the “state of the world” at the opening of the annual global summit on Tuesday. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it would be “a sober, substantive and solutions-focused report” for a world “where geopolitical divisions are putting us all at risk.” muscle.”

“There won’t be a sugar coating in his remarks, but he will give reasons for hope,” Dujarric told reporters Monday.

The 77th General Assembly of world leaders convened in the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II – the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which led to a global food crisis and opened rifts between the great powers in a way not seen since the Cold War.

However, nearly 150 heads of state and government are on the latest list of speakers. It is an indication that despite the fragmented state of the planet, the United Nations remains an important gathering place for presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and ministers to not only voice their views, but also meet privately to discuss the challenges of the global agenda – and hopefully make some progress.

At the top of that agenda for many: Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which not only threatens the smaller neighbor’s sovereignty but also raises fears of a nuclear disaster in Europe’s largest nuclear plant in the southeast of the country is currently occupied by Russia.

Leaders in many countries are trying to prevent a wider war and restore peace in Europe. However, diplomats do not expect any breakthrough this week.

The loss of vital grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia has caused a food crisis, especially in the developing world, and high inflation and the cost of living in many other countries. . Those issues are high on the agenda.

At Monday’s meeting to advance the United Nations’ goals for 2030 – including ending extreme poverty, ensuring quality education for all and achieving gender equality – Guterres said know the many pressing dangers in the world that make us “want to put our long-term development priorities to the side.”

However, the UN chief said some things cannot wait – among them education, decent work, full equality for women and girls, comprehensive health care and action. to solve the climate crisis. He called for public and private investment and financing, and above all for peace.

The death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral in London on Monday, which was attended by many world leaders, created last-minute headaches for the high-profile meeting. Diplomats and UN staff have scrambled to cope with changes in travel plans, the timing of events and logistically complicated speech schedules for world leaders gender.

The global meeting, known as the General Debate, is entirely virtual in 2020 because of the pandemic and future in 2021. This year, the 193-member General Assembly returned only to in-person speeches, with one exception – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In the face of opposition from Russia and some of its allies, Congress voted last Friday to allow the Ukrainian leader to pre-record his speech for reasons beyond his control – ” ongoing foreign invasion” and military hostilities required him to carry out “national defense” and security duties. “

Traditionally, Brazil has spoken first for more than seven decades because, at the first sessions of the General Assembly, it voluntarily started when no other country did.

The President of the United States, representing the host country to the United Nations, is traditionally the second speaker. But Joe Biden was attending the queen’s funeral, and his speech was moved to Wednesday morning. Senegal President Macky Sall is expected to replace Biden.


Edith M. Lederer is the AP’s chief UN correspondent and has covered international affairs for more than half a century.

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