UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gave a grim assessment of world affairs on Tuesday in an opening speech at the annual high-level meeting in New York.
“Our world is in peril and paralyzed,” Guterres told world leaders attending the 77th United Nations General Assembly, which visited in person this week for the first time in three years.
“We are stuck in a colossal global dysfunction,” he said, adding that the international community “is not ready or willing to address” the challenges it faces, including climate change, poverty and war.
“The Charter of the United Nations and the ideals it represents are in danger and we have a duty to act”, added António Guterres.
The remarks come as Europe grapples with perhaps its biggest military conflict since World War II, which exposed rifts between the great powers over how to deter Russia, support Ukraine and mitigate the consequences of war.
Read more: Biden to urge allied countries for more support for Ukraine at UN General Assembly
In February, Russian troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine after nearly five months of gradual military build-up along the borders of its ex-Soviet neighbour.
Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has lasted more than 200 days, has exacerbated a global food crisis already strained by climate challenges and disrupted supply chains. The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 civilians and reduced once industrious Ukrainian towns to rubble.
An avenue in Mariupol on April 12, 2022. The besieged Ukrainian city could now face a deadly cholera outbreak, according to NBC News citing local officials.
Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images
“Geopolitical divides undermine the work of the Security Council, undermine international law, undermine people’s trust and faith in democratic institutions, undermine all forms of international cooperation,” António Guterres told leaders seated in the vast hall. of the General Assembly draped in green and gold.
“We can’t go on like this,” he added.
In addition to Russia’s war in Ukraine, the UN chief urged world leaders to address the looming climate crisis, gender inequality and extreme poverty. He pushed leaders to invest in policies that promote world peace.
“Trust is crumbling, inequalities are exploding, our planet is burning,” said António Guterres.
“Let’s work together, as a coalition of the world, as the UN,” he added.