As the annual gathering of world leaders known as the U.N. General Assembly gets underway, the issues of the globe are taking center stage.
As the annual gathering of world leaders for the U.N. General Assembly began on Tuesday, gloomy assessments of a globe racked by mounting crises and wars that an old international order seems increasingly ill-equipped to manage took center stage.
The U.N. head says leaders meeting in person for the first time in three years must address conflicts and climate catastrophes, growing poverty and inequality, and address divisions among major powers that have worsened since Russia invaded Ukraine. He warns that the world is in “great peril” and that urgent action must be taken.
The 77th General Assembly meeting of world leaders convenes in the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II — the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has triggered a worldwide food crisis and widened rifts between critical powers to a degree not seen since the end of the Cold War.
Nevertheless, the speakers’ list includes nearly 150 state and government leaders. That indicates that, despite the fragmented nature of the world, the United Nations continues to be the main forum for leaders such as presidents, prime ministers, monarchs, and ministers to meet, exchange opinions, and, ideally, make progress on issues that are important to the entire world.
On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a speech to the General Assembly during its 77th session.
In speeches and statements before the leaders’ summit on Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres alluded to the “immense” job of dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic and rescuing the world, which is “literally on fire.” He also mentioned the “lack of access to money for developing nations to recover — a catastrophe not seen in a generation” that has resulted in a loss of ground for women’s rights, education, and health.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that the world is in danger and paralyzed, adding that “we are gridlocked in gigantic global dysfunction.”
He and others cited conflicts ranging from the decades-old struggle between Israel and the Palestinians to Russia’s six-month-old confrontation in Ukraine. A changing climate, skyrocketing fuel costs, food shortages, economic inequality, migration, misinformation, discrimination, hate speech, public health, and other issues were raised by speakers.
Priorities and treatments for humanity’s ailments varied. But several leaders echoed the same message at a summit devoted to uniting the world: now more than ever, the world needs cooperation, communication, and trust.
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, stated, “We live in a period of unpredictability and surprises.” Today, it is evident that no nation—large or tiny, powerful or humble—can survive independently.
Or, to quote Guterres, “Let’s work together, as a coalition of the globe, as United Nations.”
Although it is rarely that simple. The work of the U.N. Security Council, international law, public confidence in democratic institutions, and the majority of forms of international collaboration are all threatened by geopolitical divisions, as Guterres himself highlighted.
The secretary-general declared that the gap between industrialized and developing nations, the North and the South, and the privileged and the rest was growing more and more hazardous. All aspects of international collaboration, from trade to sanctions to vaccinations, are tainted by geopolitical conflicts and a lack of confidence.
The president of Senegal, Macky Sall, stated, “We want a multilateralism that is open and appreciative of our diversity.” He said, “Based on shared ideas, and not local values built as universal norms, the United Nations can earn the support of all countries.”
Many speakers focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The battle has grown to be the biggest war in Europe since World War II and has caused massive power rifts that have not been witnessed since the Cold War. Additionally, it has sparked worries about a nuclear disaster at a sizable power facility in the now-occupied southeast of Ukraine by Russia.
Meanwhile, the loss of significant grain and fertilizer exports from Russia and Ukraine has led to inflation, a rising cost of living, and a food crisis, particularly in developing countries.
Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, demanded a quick halt to hostilities in Ukraine, the safety of the people, and “the continuation of all channels of negotiation between the parties.” But he criticized what he referred to as “unilateral” Western sanctions, arguing that they had hampered economic recovery and imperiled the human rights of communities with weaker defenses.
Russia and Ukraine have not yet had a chance to speak. Despite opposition from Russia and some of its allies, the assembly has decided to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address the group by video.