"The world is in big trouble". With this sentence António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, opened the general debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. The leader of the world organisation gave a pessimistic speech with many warnings before giving way to the heads of state and government from all over the world.
Guterres sent a warning message to world leaders, pointing to the progressive fracturing of the international community and the major challenges facing the world. Alongside his message of alarm, Guterres urged international cooperation between countries to curb the threats endangering the planet. Guterres drew particular attention to the effects of the war in Ukraine on the world and the food crisis it has provoked.
Guterres also addressed the issue of the fertilisers needed for the world's crops, which have been in short supply since the start of the war. Using a metaphor, he gave as an example to follow the pact reached between the UN, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia to open a sea corridor for grain and fertilisers earlier this summer. "But we also need hope," Guterres added.
In his speech, the UN secretary-general also put the spotlight on rising world prices. He denounced an increase in inequality and misery among the poorest. "This crisis threatens the destiny of our humanity".
The Portuguese diplomat also addressed the climate warning that threatens planet Earth. A problem which, according to the Secretary General, can no longer be ignored. "It is the defining problem of our time. It must be the priority of all governments". Guterres lamented that greenhouse gas emissions are not being reduced sufficiently to meet the 2030 targets.
"We are heading for a climate disaster," he said, citing the floods in Pakistan as evidence of the cataclysms that global warming is causing. He added that the poorest people on this planet, who are the least affected by global warming, are being hit the hardest by its consequences. "Especially women and girls".
With these messages, Guterres made a scathing attack on the fossil fuel industry, a speech he has been making for years, but which he renewed in force during his address to world leaders in New York. The Secretary General called on developed economies around the world to directly attack the windfall profits of large fossil energy companies.
Finally, Guterres drew attention to the poor state of the Sustainable Development Goals, for which he asked the G20 for an urgent stimulus plan made up of four points: boosting multilateral development banks to provide favourable conditions for developing countries; global debt relief through an effective mechanism for developing countries; an increase in liquidity from the IMF and other global banking facilities; and finally, fourthly, he asked governments to strengthen specialised funds such as the global fund or the green climate fund.
"Excellencies, the divergence between developed and developing countries is becoming increasingly dangerous. There is a lack of trust that poisons the spheres of global cooperation. But we can make hope flourish," concluded the UN Secretary General.