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Face global challenges unitedly: UN Secy Gen 

The UN Secretary-General was addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) underway in New York in a week-long debate. 

SNS | New Delhi |

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction even as “the world is in Peril and Paralyzed”. He called cooperation and dialogue to resolve the issues encountering humanity saying no major global challenge can be met without a world coalition. 

The UN Secretary-General was addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) underway in New York in a week-long debate. 

More than 150 delegates representing their respective countries in the week-long debate will put forward their perspectives on the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, energy and climate crisis. At the UNGA session world leaders are meeting in-person and addressing the world after a two-year break imposed due to Covid-19 induced restrictions. 

The theme for the session is “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”.

‘World in Peril’

The session began on Tuesday, 20th September, with the opening speech of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who emphasised that the General Assembly was meeting at a time when “the world is in Peril and Paralyzed”. He stressed that no major global challenge can be met without a world coalition. Hence, he sought cooperation and dialogue to resolve the issues encountering humanity .

Guterres regretted that nations are “gridlocked in colossal of global dysfunction”. 

Elaborating his contention, he said, “Trust is crumbling, inequalities are exploding, our planet is burning. People are hurting, with the most vulnerable suffering the most.” 

He reminded global leaders that the UN charter and its ideals are in jeopardy and  urged them to “work as one, as a coalition of the world, as the United Nations to develop solutions to common problems – grounded in goodwill, trust, and the rights shared by every human being”. 

Food, debt, energy 

During the session, the secretary general met with world leaders to find solutions to the world’s food, debt and energy crisis. He said the crisis is global and requires global solidarity. We need a commitment to work together, rebuild trust and avoid the domino effects of rising poverty and social unrest

Tax windfall profits 

The UN chief highlighted a very important point regarding the fossil fuel industry. He said, “Fossil fuel industry is feasting on subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns.”

He urged developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies. 

Stimulus for Poverty 

At present, poverty and hunger are thriving in the world due to natural and manmade disasters. Addressing the opening session, Antonio Guterres said, “A world without extreme poverty or hunger could be within reach. But because of our decisions, it is not the world we have chosen.”

To combat this situation, he called for the launch of a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) stimulus led by the G20 to massively boost sustainable development for developing countries. 

Climate Action

Making a special mention of climate change at the UNGA, the Secretary General slammed all those policy makers ignoring the climate crisis and throwing the world into a war-like situation. 

“Climate change seems to have been dropped as a priority by many decision-makers around the world. How much more climate havoc do we have to witness,” asked Antonio Guterres.

“We don’t have much time to turn things around. We have only 45 days to COP27,” he added. 

He called on all the leaders to reverse the trend in global climate urging them to have the courage to back the decisive Climate Action the world needs – on mitigation, finance, adaptation, and loss & damage.

Call for Peace

The UN chief also urged the nations to maintain peace. He stressed that peace is the only practical way to realise a better world for all. However, he noted that too many places are failing in the cause of peace. He wished peace for all. 

“As we mark Peace Day, I urge everyone to wage peace. Peace for our planet and for those millions of people today living through horrors of wars,” said the UN chief.

Minority rights are human rights

Highlighting the issue of minority rights, Antonio Guterres said that ‘minority rights are human rights’. 

He reminded that it has been 30 years since countries adopted the UN Declaration on Minority Rights, but the hard truth is that the world is falling far short of protecting minorities and their identity. He called for the need for political leadership and resolute action in this direction. 

Set aside geopolitical divides

At last, the UN secretary general said that his goal is to make it clear that the world needs cooperation and dialogue to solve the global problems arising from the climate crisis to COVID-19 to high levels of inequality. So, All world leaders should put their geopolitical divides aside and work together.

Three days of the week-long debate have passed. The world leaders have shared their concerns about various global challenges. Hunger, energy crisis, Ukraine-Russia war and climate change have been at the centre of the debate so far.