In this photo taken on Jan 18, 2023, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses a session of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. Guterres on Feb 6, 2023 called on countries to take decisive action to change course before it is too late to prevent a global meltdown from occurring. (PHOTO / AFP)
UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on countries to take decisive action to change course before it is too late to prevent a global meltdown from occurring.
While presenting his priorities for the year to the UN General Assembly, Guterres appealed for urgent action to achieve peace, economic rights and development, climate action, respect for diversity, and inclusive societies — both today and for generations to come.
The Ukraine crisis, the climate emergency, rising nuclear threats and the undermining of global norms and institutions have pushed the world closer to annihilation
The Ukraine crisis, the climate emergency, rising nuclear threats and the undermining of global norms and institutions have pushed the world closer to annihilation.
ALSO READ: UN chief calls for urgent global action on poverty eradication
Stressing the need for "a course correction," the UN chief said taking action should be guided by the UN Charter, the organization's founding document, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The secretary-general called for a holistic view of the peace continuum that identifies root causes of conflict and focuses on prevention, mediation, reconciliation, peacebuilding and greater participation of women and young people.
With poverty and hunger rising, developing countries drowning in debt, and social safety nets frayed, among other signs, the top UN official called for radical transformation of the global financial architecture.
The world must unite now to mobilize resources, said Guterres, so that developing economies have the liquidity to invest in education, universal healthcare, pandemic preparedness, decent work and social protection.
Countries are hurtling past the 1.5-degree limit on global temperature rise, therefore focus must be on the urgent priorities of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and achieving climate justice.
He said global emissions must be halved this decade, including through "far more ambitious action" in shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy, especially in the G20 group of top industrialized nations.
READ MORE: UN chief calls for putting peace at center of actions, words
In respect to diversity and the universality of cultural rights, Guterres underlined the UN's commitment to protecting cultural rights and diversity.
"We will call for action from everyone with influence on the spread of mis- and disinformation on the internet – governments, regulators, policymakers, technology companies, the media, civil society," he said.
Guterres also pledged to "double down" on support for measures towards greater gender equality, including quotas to close gaps in women's representation in elections, corporate boardrooms and peace negotiations.