Sep 20, 2022 - World

UN chief: The "world is in big trouble"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

Kicking off high-level week of the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Tuesday the "world is in big trouble" as the international community remains "gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction" amid a cascade of humanitarian, security and political crises.

Why it matters: The war in Ukraine is expected to overshadow other new and protracted crises as world leaders meet at this year's UNGA. Guterres in his speech urged leaders to not lose sight of the fact that other "conflicts and humanitarian crises are spreading — often far from the spotlight."

What he's saying: "Divides are growing deeper. Inequalities are growing wider. Challenges are spreading farther," Guterres said.

  • From the deteriorating human rights situation in Myanmar to an unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa to worsening security conditions in Haiti, Guterres listed major challenges nations are facing, saying: "We need action across the board. ... People are hurting — with the most vulnerable suffering the most."
  • "The divergence between developed and developing countries – between North and South — between the privileged and the rest — is becoming more dangerous by the day," Guterres said. "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."
  • Guterres called for global cooperation, saying that despite the challenges, he sees hope. "By acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope."
"Let’s develop common solutions to common problems — grounded in goodwill, trust, and the rights shared by every human being. Let’s work as one, as a coalition of the world, as united nations."
— Secretary-General António Guterres

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