By Biodun Busari
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has warned the world leaders of the looming danger he described as a “Great Fracture” saying the globe is “becoming unhinged” over economic, financial, and trade affairs.
Guterres said this while delivering his speech at the ongoing 78th UN General Assembly in New York, US, on Tuesday.
He also called on them for sweeping changes to multilateral institutions, including reforming the powerful Security Council at the heart of the UN and redesigning global financial systems.
“The alternative to reform is not the status quo. The alternative to reform is further fragmentation. It’s reform or rupture,” Guterres said.
He warned global governance was “stuck in time” at a point when strong modern multilateral institutions are in greater need than ever before.
Reflecting on a year in which the UN has appeared incapacitated by the divisions over the war in Ukraine., Guterres put those divisions in a broader context saying: “We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions don’t reflect the world as it is. Instead of solving problems, they risk becoming part of the problem.
He said, “Divides were deepening among economic and military powers, and between North and South, East and West”.
Returning to a theme that has appeared in many of his speeches for three or more years he said:
“We are inching ever closer to a Great Fracture in economic and financial systems and trade relations; one that threatens a single, open internet; with diverging strategies on technology and artificial intelligence; and potentially clashing security frameworks.
Speaking on the world’s response to climate change, he said it was still falling “abysmally short.”
Among other things he spoke about, the UN chief said, “If every country fulfilled its obligations under the UN Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed. When countries break those pledges, they create a world of insecurity for everyone. Exhibit A: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The war, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, has unleashed a nexus of horror: lives destroyed; human rights abused; families torn apart; children traumatized; hopes and dreams shattered.
“Beyond Ukraine, the war has serious implications for us all. Nuclear threats put us all at risk. Ignoring global treaties and conventions makes us all less safe. And the poisoning of global diplomacy obstructs progress across the board.”
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