Wednesday, 13 September 2023 20:54

UNGA78: ‘Action is what the world needs’ - UN chief

© UNICEF/Sebastian Rich
Extreme weather in South Sudan is devastating the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.


The UN Secretary-General had a clear message on Wednesday to world leaders arriving in New York next week: “This is not a time for posturing or positioning.”



“Action is what the world needs” he said defining the gathering of 193 Member States for the UN General Assembly High Level Week as a “one of a kind moment” to both assess the state of world affairs but also “act for the common good.”

“This is not a time for indifference or indecision”, António Guterres told reporters at UN Headquarters. “This is a time to come together for real, practical solutions.”

United Nations News · UNGA78: ‘Action is what the world needs’ — says UN chief António Guterres

‘Compromise for a better tomorrow’

“It is time for compromise for a better tomorrow. Politics is compromise. Diplomacy is compromise. Effective leadership is compromise.”

He began his remarks reflecting on the thousands of deaths in Morocco and Libya in recent days.

“The United Nations is mobilizing to support relief efforts. We will work in any and every way we can with partners to help get emergency assistance to those who so desperately need it”, said the Secretary-General.

UN_Spokesperson

Fresh from key international summits in Nairobi, Jakarta and New Delhi – plus a visit to Havana on Thursday to meet leaders of the G77 group plus China – he said UNGA78 was convening for high level meetings amidst huge challenges.

He cited the intensifying climate emergency, new conflicts, the cost of living, and soaring inequality.

Get us out this mess

People are looking to their leaders for a way out of this mess. Yet in the face of all this and more, geopolitical divisions are undermining our capacity to respond”, said Mr. Guterres.

“A multipolar world is emerging. Multipolarity can be a factor of equilibrium, but it can also lead to escalating tensions, fragmentation and worse.”

To cement this new and complex world order, there need to be strong and reformed institutions based around the UN Charter and international law.

“I know reform is fundamentally about power – and there are many competing interests and agendas in our increasingly multipolar world”, he continued.

Zero sum outcome

But at a time when our challenges are more connected than ever, the outcome of a zero-sum game is that everyone gets zero.”

He laid out the stall for next week’s key summits, on climate, investment for development, health challenges and specific regional crises.

Next week begins with a two-day meeting on how best to “rescue” the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in Paris eight years ago, on the road to the ambitious 2030 deadline.

Special responsibility

Ending his prepared remarks, the UN chief reiterated his appeal to those Heads of State and Government bound for Manhattan:

“If we want a future of peace and prosperity based on equity and solidarity, leaders have a special responsibility to achieve compromise in designing our common future for our common good.

“Next week in New York is the place to start.”