Collective action now, the only way to meet global challenges, Guterres reaffirms in annual report

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General António Guterres visits Mandruzi Resettlement Site in Mozambique.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The global challenges of our time beg global solutions, and we must continuously demonstrate the merits of multilateral cooperation, the Secretary-General said on Monday, launching the 2019 United Nation’s annual report.

The 120-page report documents the Organization’s progress over the past year, when it comes to sustainable development, peace and security; Africa’s development, human rights, humanitarian assistance, international law, disarmament, and crime prevention, together with the fight against terrorism.

“Global challenges require global solutions,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in the Report’s introduction.

“It is not enough to proclaim the virtue of multilateralism; we must prove its added value,” he stressed, highlighting that the world’s grave challenges require attention no single Member State or organization can solve alone, above all, the risks posed by runaway climate change.

The 2019 Report on the Work of the Organization aims to set a new standard for transparency and accountability at the UN, giving readers a new perspective on the state of the world and how the UN is meeting its aims, through concrete results.

The Secretary-General says the past year illustrates both what the UN system “can accomplish when we work together, and what we need to do to generate further progress.”

With the UN’s help last year, $15 billion was mobilized for humanitarian assistance for 133 million people in need, and more than 40 political and peacekeeping missions and offices worked to promote peace and prevent conflict.

In addition, the Organization revamped the entire UN development system so that $33 billion in development aid, across 165 countries, could be better delivered. The past year saw the UN chief launch a new agenda for disarmament, and at least 600 million people were reached through a campaign celebrating the 70th anniversary of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet, rising inequality, extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, increasing violence against women and girls, and pervasive poverty, continue to make humanitarian assistance essential, the Secretary-General said.

As the Organization nears its 75th anniversary next year, Mr. Guterres said “across these diverse circumstances” he has seen, “a common thread: a deep conviction by people all over the world, that the United Nations must live up to its ideals.”

Mr. Guterres says the past year has only reinforced his conviction that “there is no other way to address global challenges but to act collectively.”

“Commitment to this vision is needed now more than ever,” he urged. More than 100 UN colleagues contributed to the report, which is available in all six official languages.          

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