UNITED NATIONS (UKTN) – Warning the world is in “great danger,” United Nations head says leaders meeting in person for the first time in three years must address conflict and climate catastrophe, increase poverty and inequality — and division deal with among the superpowers that have deteriorated since Russia invaded Ukraine.
In speeches and remarks leading up to the start of the leaders’ meeting Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the “immense” task of not only saving the planet, “which is literally on fire”, but also to confront the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also pointed to “a lack of access to finance for developing countries to recover — a crisis not seen in any generation” that has lost ground for education, health care and women’s rights.
Guterres will deliver his state of the world speech at the opening of the annual high-level global meeting. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it would be “a sober, substantive and solution-oriented report” for a world “where geopolitical divides endanger us all”.
“There will be no sugar coating in his comments, but he will outline reasons for hope,” Dujarric told reporters on Monday.
The 77th General Assembly of World Leaders will meet in the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II – the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has unleashed a global food crisis and opened rifts between major powers in ways not seen since the Cold has occurred War.
Still, nearly 150 heads of state and government are on the latest speaker list. That is a sign that, despite the fragmented state of the planet, the United Nations remains the main meeting place for presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and ministers to not only express their views, but also come together privately to address the challenges facing the global economy. agenda — and hopefully some progress.
For many, at the top of that agenda: the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine, which not only threatens the sovereignty of its smaller neighbor, but has also heightened fears of a nuclear disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in the now Russian-occupied southeast of the country. country.
Leaders in many countries are trying to prevent a wider war and restore peace in Europe. Diplomats do not expect any breakthroughs this week, however.
The loss of important grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia has led to a food crisis, especially in developing countries, and to inflation and rising costs of living in many others. Those topics are high on the agenda.
At a rally Monday to promote the UN’s 2030 goals — including ending extreme poverty, quality education for all children and achieving gender equality — Guterres said the world’s many pressing dangers “make it tempting to focus on our development priorities.” set aside for the long term. ”
But the UN chief said some things cannot wait — including education, decent jobs, full equality for women and girls, comprehensive health care and action to tackle the climate crisis. He called for public and private financing and investment, and above all for peace.
The death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral in London on Monday, attended by many world leaders, caused a last-minute headache for the high-level meeting. Diplomats and UN personnel have been scrambling to address changes in travel plans, the timing of events and the logistically complex speaking schedule for world leaders.
The global gathering, known as the General Debate, was completely virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic and hybrid in 2021. This year, the 193-member General Assembly will return to in-person speeches only, with one exception: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
After objections from Russia and a few allies, the assembly voted last Friday to allow the Ukrainian leader to pre-record his speech for reasons beyond his control — the “ongoing foreign invasion” and military hostilities that oblige him to be” national defense and security duties.”
Brazil has traditionally been the first to speak for more than seven decades, as it started voluntarily during the early sessions of the General Assembly when no other country did.
The US President, who represents the host country of the United Nations, is traditionally the second speaker. But Joe Biden attends the Queen’s funeral and his speech has been moved to Wednesday morning. Senegalese President Macky Sall is expected to take Biden’s lock.
Edith M. Lederer is the UN chief correspondent for The UK Time News and has covered international affairs for more than half a century. For more UKTN coverage of the UN General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly.