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World is moving in wrong direction, facing crises and ‘unchecked inequality’: UN chief – National

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a dire warning that the world is headed in the wrong direction and faces a “critical moment” where continuing business as usual could lead to disruption. global order and a future of perpetual crisis. A change of direction could signal a breakthrough for a greener and safer future, he said.

The head of the United Nations said countries and people around the world must reverse the current dangerous trend and choose a “breakthrough scenario”.

The world is under “enormous stress” on almost every front, he said, and the COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to the failure of countries to come together and make decisions. common purpose to help all people face a global. life-threatening emergency.

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Guterres said this “paralysis” extends far beyond COVID-19 to failures to tackle the climate crisis and “our suicide war over nature and the collapse of biodiversity.” , “unchecked inequality” weakens the cohesion of societies and advances in technology “have no rail guard to protect us from its unintended consequences” “.

Among other signs of a more chaotic and unsafe world, he points out that poverty, hunger and gender inequality are increasing after decades of decline, the greatest risk to children’s lives. people and planet from nuclear war and climate degradation, and inequality, discrimination and injustice sending people to the streets to protest “while conspiracy theories and lies are deeply divisive in society.”

In a horizon-scanning report presented to the General Assembly and at Friday’s press conference, Guterres said his vision of a “breakthrough scenario” towards a greener and safer world is promoted driven by the “principle of working together, which recognizes that we are bound together and that no community or nation, no matter how powerful, can tackle its challenges alone. “

The report – “Our Common Agenda” – is a response to last year’s declaration by world leaders on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and to requests from its 193 member states. Council to the head of the United Nations that provides recommendations to address challenges to global governance. .


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In today’s world, says Guterres, “Global decision-making is predicated on short-term gain, ignoring the long-term consequences of decisions – or indecision.”

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He said multilateral institutions have proven “too weak and fragmented in the face of today’s global challenges and risks”.

What is needed, Guterres said, is not new multilateral administrative apparatuses but more effective multilateral institutions including a “2.0” United Nations better suited to the 21st century.

“And we need multilateralism,” he said.

In a report outlining his vision “to fix” the world, Guterres said immediate action is needed to protect the planet’s “most precious” asset from the oceans to outer space, ensuring make it livable and fulfill the wishes of people everywhere for peace and good health.

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He called for an immediate global immunization plan to be implemented by an emergency task force, saying that “an investment of $50 billion in immunization could now add an estimated $9 trillion to the global economy over the next four years”.

The report proposes that the 2023 Global Summit of the Future will not only consider all of these issues, but also go beyond traditional security threats “to strengthen global governance.” digital technology and outer space, and manage future risks and crises,” he said.

It will also consider a new Agenda for Peace that includes measures to reduce strategic risks from nuclear weapons, cyberwar and lethal autonomous weapons, which Guterres calls one of the mankind’s most destabilizing invention.

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The Secretary-General said a new United Nations Futures Laboratory will publish regular reports “on major trends and risks.”


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He said the COVID-19 pandemic also exposed flaws in the global financial system.

To address these weaknesses and integrate the global financial system with other global priorities, Guterres proposed holding a biennial summit of the top 20 G20 economies, the Economic Council of the United Nations, the heads of international financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the secretary-general of the United Nations.

He also called for fixing “a major blind spot in the way we measure progress and prosperity”, saying Gross Domestic Product or GDP does not take into account the “incalculable social and environmental damage that can be caused”. out of the pursuit of profit”.

“My report calls for new indicators that value the lives and well-being of the many rather than short-term gains for the few,” said Guterres.

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It also calls for a new Emergency Platform to be automatically activated during large-scale crises including governments, the United Nations system, international financial institutions, civil society, regional private sector and other organisations, he said.

Guterres also proposed that the “repositioning” of the United Nations Trusteeship Council, where its work has been largely accomplished, “to create an intergovernmental body on intergenerational issues” would be a platform for considering the interests of the entire human family, present and future.

As part of a new focus on the world’s youth and future generations, Guterres said he intends to appoint a special envoy for future generations to ensure the interests of those born in this century. 21 and the establishment of a new United Nations Youth Office.

Saying that much of the world’s insecurity stems from growing poverty and inequality, Guterres noted that the 10 richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion. dollars since the COVID-19 pandemic began while 55% of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, “is just one step away from poverty, without any social protection Which guild?”


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To address threats to social stability, the head of the United Nations has recommended a series of measures to “provide universal health coverage, education, housing, decent work and social security.” Income protection for everyone, everywhere.”

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Guterres proposes holding a World Social Summit in 2025 on global efforts to address these problems and repair the fabric of society.

The Secretary-General also recommended global action to tackle misinformation and conspiracy theories, and promote truth, science and “integrity” in public discourse.

“We have to lie again,” Guterres said.

© 2021 Canadian Press

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