Extreme poverty, the war in Ukraine, the earthquake in Turkey, and the climate crisis were the main topics at the UN General Assembly, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took the floor to warn about the catastrophic situation, saying: “The prospects for peace are steadily diminishing. The risks of further escalation and carnage are growing,” he said. “I fear that the world is sleepwalking into a wider war and I fear that it is doing so with its eyes wide open.” He also recalled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the situation in Afghanistan, Burma, the Sahel and Haiti. “If all countries were to fulfill their obligations under the UN Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed,” he insisted.
Concerning climate change, which is one of his major preoccupations, he insisted that the clock is ticking on the brink of “total global catastrophe”, urging us to “wake up and get to work”, because “the price of inaction far exceeds the price of action”. He also denounced the lack of “strategic vision” and “short-sightedness” of political and economic decision-makers as not only “profoundly irresponsible, but immoral”.
He urged thinking about future generations, returning to his call for a “radical transformation” of the global financial architecture. “There is something fundamentally perverse in our economic and financial system,” he stressed, highlighting the responsibility for the increase in poverty and hunger, the gap 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 for communities and countries in the South. Last September, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimated that the world had fallen back five years in terms of human development (health, education, and standard of living).