UN chief message to world leaders: ‘Wake up, change course, unite’ 

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“The institutions we have, person nary teeth. And sometimes, adjacent erstwhile they person teeth, like in the lawsuit of the Security Council, they person not overmuch appetite to bite”, the UN chief said. 

With only a fewer days until the 76th session of the General Assembly kicks of its high-level week, Mr. Guterres sat down with UN News to reply questions on a big of topics, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to sex equality.  

He called for an equitable global vaccination plan, with variants continuing to appear, that astatine immoderate point, might become resistant to current innoculations. “And connected that day, cipher volition beryllium safe, in the southbound and successful the north, not adjacent successful the countries wherever everybody was vaccinated,” helium said.  

On Afghanistan, he argues that the concern is “unpredictable” and warned: “What happened successful Afghanistan, mightiness embolden now, terrorist groups oregon different rebel movements to become much aggressive.” 

The UN Chief also highlighted climate change, saying the satellite is “on the verge of the abyss” and asked all Member States to marque the adjacent UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, a success.  

The interrogation has been edited for clarity and length. 

UN News: In your caller study on Our Common Agenda, you singled retired multilateralism arsenic the champion instrumentality for rebuilding a sustainable satellite successful the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Why bash you clasp this beardown condemnation that multilateralism is the lone definite mode guardant for our satellite today? 

António Guterres: Well, look what has happened to our world; a microorganism has defeated the world. More than 1 twelvemonth and a fractional aft everything started, we inactive person the microorganism spreading everywhere. And we spot a melodramatic interaction connected the lives of people, a dramatic summation of inequalities, economies successful extremely difficult situations, and of course, the astir susceptible suffering enormously. 

The satellite was not capable to travel unneurotic and to define a global vaccination plan, and bring the countries that tin nutrient vaccines together, with the World Health Organization, with the planetary fiscal institutions, to past woody with the pharmaceutical manufacture and treble the production, and marque definite that determination is an equitable organisation astatine the production. This cannot beryllium done by a country alone; it needs to beryllium done by all. 

The occupation is that the multilateral instauration we person now - which is fundamentally WHO - WHO has not adjacent the powerfulness to get accusation astir the situation. It does not person the powerfulness to analyse the origins of a disease. 

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the low-lying land  of Tuvalu successful  May 2019 to spot    however  Pacific Ocean nations would beryllium  effected by the emergence  successful  oversea  levels.

UN Photo/Mark Garten

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the low-lying land of Tuvalu successful May 2019 to spot however Pacific Ocean nations would beryllium effected by the emergence successful oversea levels.

So, we request to lick the occupation multilaterally, bringing everybody together, but we request to person multilateral institutions with a stronger capableness of governance successful bid to beryllium capable to prevent, and successful bid to beryllium capable to lick the challenges that we face. 

If you speech astir climate, it is the same. We are connected the verge of the abyss. The information is that our objective is precise clearly fixed by the technological community, that somesthesia should not spell supra 1.5 degrees until the extremity of the century.  

We are risking not to beryllium capable to bash it, because countries are not cooperating among themselves. There is simply a batch of mistrust betwixt developed countries, processing countries. There is simply a north-south disagreement that is making it hard for each to presume commitments, to trim emissions, in bid to person a drastic simplification the adjacent decennary oregon two and reach c neutrality successful 2050. 

So, we request a strengthened multilateralism, it's wide that lone cooperating we tin lick the problems. But the institutions we have, person nary teeth. And sometimes, even erstwhile they person teeth, like in the case of the Security Council, they person not overmuch appetite to bite.  

We request a multilateral radical of institutions web moving together, because everything present is interlinked, and with much authorization successful bid to beryllium capable to mobilize the full planetary assemblage to lick the problems that we face. 

And that is exactly one of the objectives of the Common Agenda – to observe the planetary commons and the planetary nationalist goods that request improved governance and to enactment with subordinate states to find mechanisms successful bid for that governments to beryllium much effectual for america to beryllium capable to forestall aboriginal pandemics, for america to beryllium capable to decision clime change, for america to beryllium capable to code the melodramatic inequalities successful today's world. 

UN News: Let america present absorption connected COVID-19. You person been insisting that nary 1 is harmless until everyone is safe, but the world is different, particularly successful Africa, wherever little than 2% of the people are vaccinated and successful galore parts of the world vaccines are not being used. What indispensable beryllium done for developed oregon richer nations to judge and enactment connected the information that the combat against COVID-19 tin lone win arsenic a communal planetary enterprise? 

António Guterres: Well, arsenic I said, we request the planetary vaccination plan, and we request to beryllium capable to bring unneurotic each those that nutrient oregon tin nutrient vaccines and treble the accumulation and then have an equitable distribution. 

This has been intelligibly our appeal, unfortunately, not yet met. And the effect is what you said. 

It is mutating, it is changing and determination is simply a hazard that, at a definite moment, 1 of these mutations volition bring a virus that is capable to defy the vaccines that present are applied.  

I mean, my country [Portugal], that has been precise successful, now has 80 per cent of the colonisation afloat vaccinated.  In Africa, arsenic you mentioned, determination are countries with little than two per cent.  

And the occupation is this microorganism is spreading similar wildfire successful the global south. It is mutating, it is changing and determination is simply a hazard that, at a definite moment, 1 of these mutations volition bring a virus that is capable to defy the vaccines that present are applied.  

And that day, cipher volition beryllium harmless successful the southbound and successful the north, not adjacent successful the countries wherever everybody was vaccinated. 

So this is simply a crushed to recognize that the precedence indispensable beryllium to vaccinate everybody everywhere. And that is wherefore we made an entreaty for each the measures to beryllium taken successful bid to warrant that 70 per cent of the colonisation of the satellite volition beryllium vaccinated successful the mediate of adjacent year. 70 per cent in an equitable way, not 1 percent successful 1 spot and 20% successful another. 

UN News: Let's crook present to Afghanistan wherever the concern is simply a immense concern, particularly for women. The caller Taliban [leadership] does not have a azygous pistillate successful it and most taste groups have also been near out. What wide strategy bash you deliberation the UN and its partners should follow to champion assistance the radical of Afghanistan now? 

António Guterres: Well, the concern is unpredictable. We each privation Afghanistan to person inclusive government. 

We each privation Afghanistan to respect quality rights particularly of women and girls. We each privation Afghanistan ne'er to beryllium again a centre for terrorists, to have a harmless haven; we each privation Afghanistan to combat cause trafficking, but it is hard to forecast what's going to happen. It's inactive unclear what's going to happen.  

I deliberation that UN has a duty, and our work is to engage, to prosecute based connected what we tin deliver, and what we tin present is indispensable humanitarian aid, astatine the contiguous moment, and to prosecute successful bid to explicate to the Taliban however important it is for them to person an inclusive authorities of each the antithetic ethnicities, and,  of course, with women, to person women and girls’ rights respected. 

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, discusses humanitarian issues with the enactment    of the Taliban successful  Kabul, Afghanistan.

OCHA

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, discusses humanitarian issues with the enactment of the Taliban successful Kabul, Afghanistan.

Women indispensable beryllium capable to work, girls indispensable beryllium capable to person each levels of education, and, at the aforesaid time, to cooperate with the international assemblage warring coercion successful an effectual way. So, we request to prosecute with the Taliban, and that's what we person done. 

As you know, we person sent Martin Griffiths, our Emergency Relief Coordinator and caput of the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to spell to Kabul and to talk with the Taliban enactment connected however tin we present humanitarian assistance oregon however it can be done successful a harmless environment or in an equitable mode successful which determination are nary discriminations of immoderate kind? And, at the aforesaid time, to prosecute with them connected the different aspects that I mentioned, about quality rights and different forms of practice that are essential? So, we request to engage. We don't cognize however things volition develop, but we cognize that if we don't engage, they volition astir apt spell successful the incorrect direction. 

And past we request to mobilize planetary assemblage to supply humanitarian aid. The Afghan radical are suffering truthful much. It is captious to bring to the Afghans, food, medicine and different basal forms of enactment to avoid a catastrophic concern successful the country.  

And the different interest we person is, because of each the antithetic measures and sanctions that exist, that determination is simply a hazard of wholly strangling the economy.  

So, I deliberation the planetary assemblage indispensable find ways to inject immoderate currency successful the Afghan system successful bid to debar the illness of the economy, that volition person devastating consequences successful narration to the beingness of Afghans, and besides provoking a monolithic exodus that, of course, will beryllium a origin of instability successful the full region. 

Power contiguous successful the satellite is inactive fundamentally concentrated connected men and with the male dominated culture.  

UN News: In galore countries astir the world, women are inactive near down connected aggregate fronts. You've done a batch to beforehand the contented of sex parity present successful the United Nations. But galore critics complaint that the UN should beryllium driving this docket much forcefully. What actions bash you privation to spot implemented to guarantee that sex equality is simply a world by 2030? 

António Guterres: Well, determination are galore dimensions. Of course, the practice of women successful the antithetic organs of the UN, and also at a nationalist and planetary level; the questions of a enactment to women entrepreneurs and the economical empowerment of women warring gender-based violence. That is still, as you know, a unspeakable concern successful struggle areas, but astatine home, successful many, many circumstances, abolishing each discriminatory authorities that inactive exists successful galore countries wherever afloat equality betwixt women and men are not successful the law. 

So, each these things are priorities for us, but determination is simply a cardinal question, which is simply a question of power. Power contiguous successful the satellite is inactive fundamentally concentrated connected men and with the male dominated culture.  

And powerfulness is usually not given, power is taken. So, we request women to afloat combat for their rights and we request men that recognize that lone with afloat sex equality, the satellite volition amended and the problems we solved. 

We request those men, to prosecute efficaciously successful the combat for sex equality. And on this question of powerfulness successful the UN, as you know, we person present parity, adjacent fig of women and men successful 180 precocious ranking offices of the UN and successful the leaders of our teams astir the world, due to the fact that we consciousness that if successful the organs wherever the powerfulness exists, determination is parity, this volition inevitably person consequences, down the line. 

So, we indispensable person the aforesaid successful governments, we indispensable person the aforesaid successful parliaments, we indispensable person the aforesaid successful each bodies.  

We request to person women and men successful afloat equality wherever decisions are taken, wherever power exists, to marque definite that we alteration this unbalanced powerfulness relationship, that is the effect of centuries of antheral domination and patriarchy. 

Secretary-General António Guterres (2nd right, front) with women who comprise portion  of his enactment    squad  of which has achieved sex  equilibrium  wrong   the Senior Management Group.

UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General António Guterres (2nd right, front) with women who comprise portion of his enactment squad of which has achieved sex equilibrium wrong the Senior Management Group.

UN News: Another marginalized radical is youth, and you person been calling for everyone to supply younker a spot astatine the table, as federation strive to physique an inclusive and equitable satellite for all. What would you similar to spot the younker themselves bash to marque definite that they get that opportunity? 

António Guterres: I deliberation young radical present person tremendous instruments to travel unneurotic and to marque their dependable heard. 

Young radical predominate societal media overmuch much than my generation. Young radical person an tremendous capableness of mobilization arsenic we person seen successful the movements against racism, against clime change, against inequalities of antithetic sorts, the question for sex equality, wherever the young procreation is highly progressive successful narration to the older ones. 

So, we request to make the organization mechanisms to let for the dependable of young radical to beryllium much contiguous wherever decisions are taken. 

And that is the crushed why, again, successful the Common Agenda, we have a fig of important measures to springiness young radical dependable and power successful the mode the UN works. 

UN News: Let's absorption present connected Africa, connected the issues of conflict. You've warned precocious that events successful Afghanistan could besides power what happens adjacent successful definite volatile hotspots successful Africa, in peculiar where extremist ideology is driving conflict. Could you delight explicate however you spot this? 

António Guterres: If 1 looks at a situation similar the Sahel, I americium precise worried. We spot a simplification of the French presence. We person seen Chad moving troops from the astir unsafe area. 

We spot the violent groups emboldened by the concern successful Afghanistan, the triumph of the Taliban. And so, I deliberation it's clip to truly rally efforts, to marque definite that we make an effectual information mechanics successful the Sahel. 

What happened successful Afghanistan, mightiness embolden violent groups now, or different rebel movements to become much aggressive

That is wherefore I've been ever advocating for a beardown African unit by the African national unneurotic with the determination organizations, with enactment from the Security Council and a Chapter 7 resolution [the means by which the Security Council tin authorize the usage of force], and with contributions, mandatory contributions, to warrant that unit volition beryllium efficaciously supported. 

But past we besides cognize that subject unit is not enough. We request to person development, we request to combat the interaction of clime change, and we request to bash everything to amended the governance of the area. 

So, we request truly to boost our efforts and I appeal to the international assemblage to afloat enactment it successful the antithetic dimensions. 

In the information dimension, successful the improvement dimension, in the humanitarian dimension, successful the governance and quality rights dimensions. And if we bash it, we volition beryllium capable to decision coercion successful the Sahel. 

But if we support the aforesaid concern we person today, I'm precise disquieted astir that development. And the aforesaid tin beryllium said astir different parts of Africa, where what happened successful Afghanistan, mightiness embolden violent groups now, or different rebel movements to become much aggressive. 

UN News: And connected planetary security, arsenic the satellite continues to grapple with much information threats - of course, you spoke astir the contented of extremism, and different forms of conflicts, coercion and weapons of wide destruction. What much tin the UN bash to marque the satellite a much unafraid place? 

António Guterres: Well, the biggest occupation contiguous is the deficiency of trust. And particularly the deficiency of spot among the large powers. You spot that successful the difficulties of the Security Council to instrumentality capable decisions with the remainder of the antithetic situation successful the world. 

And so, with this division, with this disagreement among the large powers with this deficiency of trust, what we spot is an situation of impunity, radical deliberation they tin bash immoderate they want.  

UN Secretary-General António Guterres holds a virtual speech  astir  clime  enactment   with younker  activists Paloma Costa from Brazil (left connected  screen) and Marie Christina Kolo from Madagascar.

UN Photo/Manuel Elías

UN Secretary-General António Guterres holds a virtual speech astir clime enactment with younker activists Paloma Costa from Brazil (left connected screen) and Marie Christina Kolo from Madagascar.

So, we request to rebuild trust, and we request to rebuild spot among those that person much power successful satellite affairs to beryllium capable to cooperate successful bid to marque definite that we are capable to unite the international assemblage successful addressing the crises that are multiplying now. 

We spot more coup d’états, we spot caller situations of conflict, we spot societal instability and unrest. 

We request to person a Security Council that is united, that is strong. And for that, we request a superior dialog among the large powers to effort to find communal ground. 

UN News: The wide statement is adjacent week, Mr. Secretary-General, what is your cardinal connection the satellite leaders arsenic they're coming adjacent week? 

António Guterres: My main message: It's clip to ringing the alarm bell. We are connected the verge of a precipice and we are moving successful the incorrect direction. 

Look at [COVID-19] vaccination, look astatine the difficulties successful bringing unneurotic each countries to marque definite that we marque COP26 a success. 

Look astatine the multiplication of conflicts we person witnessed successful the past fewer months. We request to alteration course, and we request to aftermath up. So, my connection to the leaders: Wake up, alteration course, unite, and let's effort to decision the tremendous challenges we are facing today. 

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