World Headed for 'Broader War', UN Secretary-General WarnsWorld Headed for 'Broader War', UN Secretary-General Warns

(AFP) The world is headed, “with eyes wide open,” toward a “wider war” in the face of growing “risks of escalation” in Ukraine – UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned at the organization’s General Assembly, where a minute of silence was held for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria on Monday (6).

Guterres expressed his “deep sadness” at the news of the death toll in the earthquake and stressed that the UN is “deeply committed to supporting the response” to help the victims. More than 2,300 people lost their lives in the quake that struck Turkey and Syria.

War in Ukraine, climate crisis, extreme poverty: “we start the year 2023 with a convergence of challenges never seen in our lifetimes,” warned Guterres, who also cited the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, passing through the situation in Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Sahel, and Haiti.

“I fear that the world is moving forward, like a sleepwalker, into a wider war, and I fear that it is doing so with eyes wide open,” he said in a particularly somber speech in which he detailed his goals for 2023.

“We need to wake up and get to work” because “the price of inaction far exceeds the price of action,” he responded, as he presented a list of urgent issues.

At the top of the list is the war in Ukraine.

“The prospects for peace keep diminishing. The risks of escalation and further carnage keep increasing,” he said.

The secretary-general denounced the lack of “strategic vision” and the short-term “bias” of political and economic leaders, which is not only “deeply irresponsible but also immoral.”

“If all countries fulfilled the obligations that emanate from the (United Nations) Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed,” he insisted.

n relation to the climate crisis,” the Secretary-General recalled, “the group of scientists monitoring the Doomsday Clock recently estimated that humanity has never been so close to the end of the world.

  • “Crumbs” for the poor

Guterres also stressed the need to think about future generations, recalling his call for a “radical transformation” of the world’s financial architecture.

“There is something fundamentally perverse about our economic and financial system,” he continued, highlighting responsibility for the rise in poverty and hunger, inequality between rich and poor, or the debt burden of developing countries.

“Without fundamental reforms, the richest countries and individuals will continue to accumulate wealth and leave only crumbs to communities and countries in the South,” he said.

In September 2022, the United Nations Development Program concluded that the world had regressed by five years in terms of human development (health, education, standard of living).

“The development goals are disappearing in the rearview mirror,” he lamented, in reference to the 17 goals set in 2015 to eliminate poverty, ensure food security for all or access to affordable clean energy by 2030.

“We have the opportunity to save them,” said the UN secretary-general, who is organizing a summit in New York in September to assess the development goals.

Guterres also called on the G20 to adopt measures to support emerging countries and their responsibilities in the fight against global warming.

Climate ambition will also be the central theme of another summit in September in New York, to which top world leaders have been invited, “with conditions.”

“Show us accelerated action for this decade and ambitious new carbon neutrality plans, or please don’t come!” he said, also sending a special message to oil producers: “if you are not able to establish a plausible path to zero net energy emissions …, you should not be in business.”

“We need a revolution in renewable energy, not a self-destructive resurgence of fossil fuels,” he assured.

Similarly, he considered that women’s rights suffer an “intense setback” in Afghanistan, although not only in this country. “Half of humanity faces the most extended human rights violations of our time,” he concluded.

*** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team***

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