The head of the United Nations warned the world was facing “great danger” and leaders met face-to-face for the first time in three years. They must manage conflicts and climate disasters, rising poverty and inequality, and the divide between great powers that has worsened since Russia invaded Ukraine.
In speeches and statements ahead of the leaders’ meeting that began on Tuesday, Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, pointed to the “huge” task of not only saving the planet, “which is literally on fire”, but also dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. She also referred to the “lack of access to credit for developing countries to recover, a crisis not seen in a generation”, which has undermined education, health and women’s rights.
Guterres will deliver his “State of the World” address at the opening of the annual summit on Tuesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. It would be a “proud, strong, solutions-focused wake-up call” to a world “where geopolitical divisions threaten us all.”
“His speech will be informal, but it will show reasons for hope,” Dujarric told reporters on Monday.
The 77th General Assembly of world leaders is being held in the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. That has created a global food crisis and opened fractures between great powers on a scale not seen since the Cold War.
However, around 150 heads of state and government will address the meeting. It is a sign that despite divisions, the United Nations remains a critical forum for presidents, prime ministers, kings and ministers not only to express their views but to hold private meetings and discuss challenges on the global agenda and hopefully make progress. .
For many, the first item on that agenda is Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which not only threatens the sovereignty of its tiny neighbor but threatens to destroy Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. , in the southeast of the country and now occupied by Russia.
Leaders of many countries try to prevent the spread of war and restore peace in Europe. However, diplomats were not expecting any major breakthroughs this week.
The loss of important Ukrainian and Russian grain and fertilizer exports has led to food crises, particularly in developing countries, and increased inflation and the cost of living in many other countries. These issues are among the highest priorities of the summit.
At a meeting held on Monday to promote the United Nations’ goals for 2030, Guterres said many of the world’s pressing threats, including ending extreme poverty, ensuring quality education for all children and achieving gender equality, tempt him to “set aside our long-term development priorities.”
However, she assured, some things cannot wait, such as education, decent employment, full equality for women and girls, full healthcare and measures to tackle the climate crisis. He asked for investment and public and private credit and above all for peace.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral in London on Monday, attended by many world leaders, have caused last-minute complications for the summit. Diplomats and UN staff have tried to sort out changes in travel plans, schedules and logistical details of the world leaders’ intervention.
The global meeting, known as the General Debate, was held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic and in a hybrid format in 2021. This year, the 193-member General Assembly has held face-to-face speeches with one exception: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Despite objections from Russia and some allies, the assembly last Friday voted in favor of recording his speech in advance for reasons beyond his control, “ongoing foreign aggression” and military hostilities that force him to implement “national”. Security and Defense Duties”.
By tradition, Brazil has been the first country to speak for seven decades because it voluntarily began at the first sessions of the General Assembly when no one else did.
The President of the United States, who represents the UN host country, is usually the second speaker. But Joe Biden has traveled to Britain for the Queen’s funeral and his speech has been postponed until Wednesday morning. The president of Senegal, Macky Sall, is scheduled to speak in the strip that Biden was slated to occupy.