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2020’s ‘wind of madness’ indicates growing instability: UN chief

By Deepak Arora

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 4: Rising instability and unpredictable geopolitical tensions have led to a “wind of madness” across the world, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday during his main annual press conference for journalists at UN Headquarters in New York.

Following recent flare-ups in some hotspots, the UN chief observed that although de-escalation efforts indicated progress, the situation has now changed.

“I have spoken about winds of hope. But today a wind of madness is sweeping the globe. From Libya to Yemen to Syria and beyond — escalation is back. Arms are flowing. Offensives are increasing”, he said.

“All situations are different but there is a feeling of growing instability and hair-trigger tensions, which makes everything far more unpredictable and uncontrollable, with a heightened risk of miscalculation. Meanwhile, Security Council resolutions are being disrespected even before the ink is even dry.”

In laying out this and other “vicious circles” operating, the Secretary-General underscored the need for multilateral institutions like the UN to be more attuned to the global challenges of the 21st century.

“In the year ahead I will press to break the vicious circles of suffering and conflict and push for a strong surge of diplomacy for peace,” he said.

Guterres continued his push for climate action, as rising ocean temperatures and subsequent ice melt are worsening the crisis.

With carbon dioxide concentrations set to reach new highs, he called on “the big emitters” to lead the way forward in adaptation, mitigation and financing.

“We need a price on carbon, and an end to subsidies for fossil fuels. We are still seeing too many plans for coal plants – the addiction to coal remains dangerously strong,” he said.

The vicious cycle of poverty and inequality also must be broken, and Mr. Guterres reminded journalists that the UN this year kicked off a Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 17 goals include ending hunger and poverty, providing quality education for all children, and achieving gender equality.

Said the Secretary-General: “We know that progress on one Goal can generate progress on all – the virtuous circle we know is possible and that can point the way toward growth and prosperity for all.”

Guterres urges strong support for China, other nations

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 4: In a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said WHO had decided on declaring the global emergency over the new coronavirus “at the right moment” and had been very active in lending support to China and other countries grappling with cases.

“We are trying to mobilize our best capacities and best resources” he told journalists, adding that no UN staff member has so far been infected.

He urged “a strong feeling of international solidarity, a strong feeling of support to China in these difficult circumstances and all the countries that might be impacted, and a strong concern to avoid the stigmatization of people that are innocent, and victims of the situation.”

UN launches 75th anniversary dialogues: The biggest global conversation on the world's future

By Deepak Arora

UNITED NATIONS: January 1, 2020 saw the launch of the UN75 initiative - the largest, most inclusive conversation on the role of global cooperation in building a better future for all. The initiative will see the UN spark dialogues throughout 2020 in diverse settings across the world.

In a ‘global reality check’, four innovative data streams will build the first ever repository of crowd-sourced solutions to major global challenges.

The UN75 dialogues together with a ‘One-minute Survey’ that anyone can take, opinion polling in 50 countries and artificial intelligence sentiment analysis of traditional and social media in 70 countries, will generate compelling data to inform national and international policies and debate.

In calling for participation, the Secretary-General said: “No country, no community, is able to solve the complex problems of our world alone. We need to come together, not only to talk, but to listen. It is absolutely essential that you all join the conversation. We need your opinion, your strategies and your ideas for us to be able to deliver better for the people
of the world that we must serve.”

Intended to engage constituencies across borders, sectors and generations, the UN75 team is collaborating with a wide multi-sector network, including the UN Resident Coordinators, for a diverse and global reach, and for dialogues to be convened in every country of the world.

In a global listening exercise, with an emphasis on youth and groups not already engaged with the UN, the UN75 initiative aims to better understand expectations of international cooperation in light of pressing global challenges.

The views and ideas that are generated will be presented, by the Secretary-General, to world leaders and senior UN officials on September 21, 2020, at a high-level event to mark the 75th anniversary.

To inspire and inform the dialogues the UN is also partnering with Vox Media’s brand studio, Vox Creative to create a video informed by interviews with 38 people from around the world, sharing their experiences and opinions related to important global issues, to be launched January 6, 2020. Those who want to be a part of the conversation - physically or online – can see how to join through the website: www.un.org/UN75.

 

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