‘Our world is in peril’: At UN, leaders push for solutions



UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In an alarming evaluation, the pinnacle of the United Nations warned world leaders Tuesday that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t prepared or keen to deal with the challenges that threaten humanity’s future — and the planet’s. “Our world is in peril — and paralyzed,” he stated.

Speaking on the opening of the General Assembly’s annual high-level assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made positive to emphasise that hope remained. But his remarks mirrored a tense and fearful world. He cited the conflict in Ukraine and multiplying conflicts across the world, the local weather emergency, the dire monetary scenario of growing international locations and setbacks in U.N. targets for 2030 together with an finish to excessive poverty and high quality schooling for all kids.

He additionally warned of what he referred to as “a forest of red flags” round new applied sciences regardless of promising advances to heal ailments and join individuals. Guterres stated social media platforms are based mostly on a mannequin “that monetizes outrage, anger and negativity” and buys and sells information “to influence our behavior.” Artificial intelligence he stated, “is compromising the integrity of information systems, the media, and indeed democracy itself.”


The world lacks even the start of “a global architecture” to take care of the ripples brought on by these new applied sciences due to “geopolitical tensions,” Guterres stated.

His opening remarks got here as leaders from across the planet reconvened at U.N. headquarters in New York after three years of pandemic interruptions, together with a wholly digital assembly in 2020 and a hybrid one final 12 months. This week, the halls of the United Nations are stuffed as soon as extra with delegates reflecting the world’s cultures. Many faces have been seen, although all delegates are required to put on masks besides when talking to push back the coronavirus.

Guterres made positive to start out out by sounding a notice of hope. He confirmed a photograph of the primary U.N.-chartered ship carrying grain from Ukraine — a part of the deal between Ukraine and Russia that the United Nations and Turkey helped dealer — to the Horn of Africa, the place tens of millions of individuals are on the sting of famine It is, he stated, an instance of promise and hope “in a world teeming with turmoil.”

He harassed that cooperation and dialogue are the one path ahead to take care of world peace — two elementary U.N. rules since its founding after World War II. And he warned that “no power or group alone can call the shots.”

“Let’s work as one, as a coalition of the world, as united nations,” he urged leaders gathered in the huge General Assembly corridor.

It’s not often that simple. Geopolitical divisions are undermining the work of the U.N. Security Council, worldwide regulation, individuals’s belief in democratic establishments and most types of worldwide cooperation, Guterres stated.

“The divergence between developed and developing countries, between North and South, between the privileged and the rest, is becoming more dangerous by the day,” the secretary-general stated. “It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade.

Before the global meeting was gaveled open, leaders and ministers wearing masks to avoid a COVID-19 super-spreader event wandered the assembly hall, chatting individually and in groups. It was a sign that that despite the fragmented state of the planet, the United Nations remains the key gathering place for presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and ministers.

Nearly 150 heads of state and government are on the latest speakers’ list, a high number reflecting that the United Nations remains the only place not just to deliver their views but to meet privately to discuss the challenges on the global agenda — and hopefully make some progress.

The 77th General Assembly meeting of world leaders convenes under the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II — the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has unleashed a global food crisis and opened fissures among major powers in a way not seen since the Cold War.

At the top of the agenda for many: Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which not only threatens the sovereignty of its smaller neighbor but has raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in the country’s now Russia-occupied southeast.

Leaders in many countries are trying to prevent a wider war and restore peace in Europe. Diplomats, though, aren’t expecting any breakthroughs this week.

The loss of important grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia has triggered a food crisis, especially in developing countries, and inflation and a rising cost of living in many others. Those issues are also prominent on the agenda.

In an impassioned speech to the assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron said no country can stand on the sidelines in the face of Russia’s aggression. He accused those who remain silent of being “in a way complicit with a new cause of imperialism” that is trampling on the present world order and is making peace not possible.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, historically the primary speaker, referred to as for an instantaneous ceasefire in Ukraine, safety of civilians and “the maintenance of all channels of dialogue between the parties.” He opposed what he referred to as “one-sided or unilateral” Western sanctions, saying they’ve harmed financial restoration and have threatened human rights of susceptible populations.

Senegal’s President Maky Sall, who chairs the 55-nation African Union, and stepped to the rostrum subsequent, referred to as for “de-escalation,” a halt to hostilities and “a negotiated solution to avoid the catastrophic risk of a potentially global conflict.” He referred to as or a “high-level mediation mission” and stated the union is able to contribute.

King Abdullah II of Jordan stated the pandemic, exacerbated by the disaster in Ukraine, has disrupted world provide chains and elevated starvation. Many well-off international locations experiencing empty meals cabinets for the primary time “are discovering a truth that people in developing countries have known for a long time– for countries to thrive, affordable food must get to every family’s table,” he stated.

“On a global level, this demands collective measures to ensure fair access to affordable food, and speed the movement of staples to countries in need,” Abdullah stated.

The loss of life of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral in London on Monday, which many world leaders attended, created last-minute complications for the high-level assembly. Diplomats and U.N. employees have scrambled to take care of modifications in journey plans, the timing of occasions and the logistically intricate talking schedule for world leaders.

There is one exception to the in-person speeches. Over objections from Russia and some allies, the meeting voted final Friday to permit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to prerecord his speech due to causes past his management — the “ongoing foreign invasion” and navy hostilities that require him to hold out his “national defense and security duties.” His handle might be proven on Wednesday afternoon.

The U.S. president, representing the host nation for the United Nations, is historically the second speaker. But Joe Biden attended the queen’s funeral, and his speech has been pushed to Wednesday morning.


Edith M. Lederer is chief U.N. correspondent for The Associated Press and has been overlaying worldwide affairs for greater than half a century. For extra AP protection of the U.N. General Assembly, go to https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly


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