Ukraine: UN chief alarmed at risk of 'wider war' | War in Ukraine

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Ukraine: UN chief warns of risk of “wider war” | War in Ukraine

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in January in Geneva. (File Photo)

As 'risks of escalation' rise in Ukraine, world heads 'with eyes wide open' towards 'wider war' alarmed the UN Secretary General on Monday in a particularly somber speech outlining his priorities for 2023.

War in Ukraine, climate crisis, extreme poverty… We started the year 2023 with, in our sights, a convergence of challenges never seen in our lifetime, declared Antonio Guterres before the General Assembly of the UN.

According to scientists running the doomsday clock, humanity has never been closer to its end, now 90 seconds before midnight, he recalled, seeing this as a wake-up call.

We need to wake up and get to work, a he insisted, drawing up a list of urgent questions for 2023.

High on that list is the war in Ukraine.

“Prospects for peace keep shrinking . The risks of further escalation and carnage continue to grow. […] I fear the world is not sleepwalking sleepwalking into a larger war, but I fear it is in fact doing so with its eyes wide open. »

— Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

He also says he is concerned about other threats to peace, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the x27; Afghanistan via Myanmar, the Sahel or Haiti. If all countries fulfilled their obligations under the [United Nations, Editor's note] Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed, he insisted, placing respect for human rights at the heart of these values.< /p>

More broadly, Antonio Guterres denounced the lack of strategic vision and the penchant of political and economic decision-makers for the short term.

The next election, the next political maneuver to cling to power or stock prices the next day: This short-term thinking is not only deeply irresponsible, it is immoral.

Stressing instead the need to think about future generations, he repeated his call for a radical transformation of the global financial architecture.

There is something fundamentally wrong with our economic and financial system, he insisted, pointing to his 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 wealthiest countries and individuals will continue to accumulate wealth, leaving only crumbs for communities and countries in the South.

— Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

A concern echoed by representatives of developing countries, from Africa to the small island states.

The poorest cannot continue to pay the highest price for the benefit of the wealthiest, insisted Cuban Ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, on behalf of the G77+China group, which includes 134 developing countries.

According to the UN Development Agenda, with the pandemic, the world has already gone back five years in terms of human development (health, education, standard of living).< /p>

And the Development Goals [SDGs] are disappearing in the rearview mirror, Antonio Guterres lamented, referring to the 17 goals set in 2015 to achieve poverty eradication, food security for all by 2030. or access to clean and affordable energy.

We have opportunities to save [them], however assured the Secretary General, who is organizing in September in New York a summit on this theme.

The fight against global warming as well as climate ambition will be at the heart of another summit also in September to which he has invited the world leaders, conditionally.

Show us accelerating action for this decade and ambitious new plans for carbon neutrality or please , don't come, he said.

He also attacked the fossil fuel sector again: If you can't p As you plan a credible path to carbon neutrality, with 2025 and 2030 targets covering all your operations, you shouldn't be in business.