UN chief outlines solutions to defeat ‘four horsemen’ threatening our global future

UN Photo/Mark Garten Secretary-General António Guterres (left) briefs the General Assembly meeting on his Priorities for 2020 and the Work of the Organization.

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


The start of the New Year finds the world facing four looming threats to human progress: surging geopolitical tensions, the climate crisis, global mistrust and the downsides of technology, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday.

In a wide-ranging speech to the General Assembly, the UN chief outlined strategies to address what he called the “four horsemen in our midst”, and he urged countries to take advantage of the UN’s 75th anniversary year to secure a peaceful future for all people.

“These four horsemen…can jeopardize every aspect of our shared future”, Mr. Guterres warned.

“That is why commemorating the 75th anniversary with nice speeches won’t do.  We must address these four 21st-century challenges with four 21st-century solutions.”

Global tensions mounting

For the Secretary-General, global tensions are at their highest level in years, making the risk of fracture real.

Although developments such as the formation of the Constitutional Committee in Syria and the recent Berlin conference on Libya are signs of hope, he stressed that “we have our work cut out for us”.

Mr. Guterres underlined the central role of prevention in UN engagement in the peace and security dimension, and emphasized the need to focus on the root causes of crisis and upheaval.

“We must strengthen our mediation capacity and our tools for sustaining peace, leading to long-term development”, he added.

“We need to create the conditions for effective peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations by our regional partners, under chapter VII of the Charter and with predictable funding. This is especially true in Africa, from the Sahel to Lake Chad.”

Our planet is burning

On climate change, the science is clear, Mr. Guterres stated.

“Rising temperatures continue to melt records.  The past decade was the hottest on record.  Scientists tell us that ocean temperatures are now rising at the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs a second.  One million species are in near-term danger of extinction. Our planet is burning”, he told ambassadors.

Yet, in the midst of the crisis, some leaders “continue to fiddle”, he said, as evidenced by the outcome of the last UN climate conference, known as COP25, held in Madrid in December.

But the Secretary-General is adamant that the climate battle can be won as people everywhere “get it”, while the overwhelming majority of scientists are clear there is still time to act.

“At the next climate conference – COP26 in Glasgow – governments must deliver the transformational change our world needs and that people demand, with much stronger ambition – ambition on mitigation, ambition on adaptation, and ambition on finance,” he stated.

A call for fair globalization

The third horseman—deep and growing global mistrust—can be defeated through fair globalization, boosting economic growth and preventing conflict.

Back in 2015, world leaders adopted an agenda to bring about a more just and fair planet for all.  This year, the UN has launched a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline.

“Throughout the Decade of Action, we must invest in the eradication of poverty, in social protection, in health and fighting pandemics, in education, energy, water and sanitation, in sustainable transport and infrastructure and in internet access”, said the Secretary-General.

“We must improve governance, tackle illicit financial flows, stamp out corruption and develop effective, common sense and fair taxation systems. We must build economies for the future and ensure decent work for all, especially young people. And we must put a special focus on women and girls because it benefits us all.”

The Secretary-General also encouraged leaders to work to rebuild trust, including through listening to their citizens and harnessing ideas for change and other constructive solutions put forward by youth.

Taming the ‘Wild West of cyberspace’

Bringing light to the dark side of the digital world will require action on several fronts, including in the labour market as automation will displace tens of millions of jobs in the next decade.

The UN chief recommended that education systems be redesigned to address this reality by teaching people how to learn across the course of their entire lives.

“We also must usher in order to the Wild West of cyberspace,” he said.

“Terrorists, white supremacists and others who sow hate are exploiting the internet and social media. Bots are spreading disinformation, fueling polarization and undermining democracies. Next year, cybercrime will cost $6 trillion.”

Mr. Guterres highlighted the UN as the platform to bring together governments, the private sector, civil society and others to counter what he called “digital fragmentation” through global cooperation.

The “alarming possibilities” of artificial intelligence also must be addressed, and he appealed to countries to immediately ban lethal autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots.

“Lethal autonomous weapons – machines with the power to kill on their own, without human judgement and accountability – are bringing us into unacceptable moral and political territory”, he warned.                    

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU should promote immigration as a humanitarian issue in order to provide a more permanent solution

FROM THE FIELD: Sailing a traditional and sustainable path in Fiji’s tropical waters

Georgia: EU report highlights importance of maintaining reform momentum and depolarising the political environment

Commission refers Denmark to the Court for failing to fulfil its obligations in relation to the name “Feta”

How a 3-point plan could help rebuild business for the long-term

Trade/Human Rights: Commission decides to partially withdraw Cambodia’s preferential access to the EU market

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

Draghi reserved about Eurozone’s growth prospects

14 innovative projects helping to save the planet and make the world a better place

Germany’s fiscal and financial self-destructive policies

Erasmus+: a turning point in the lives of 5 million European students

Appalling overall unemployment in Eurozone at 20.6%

Greater transparency, fairer prices for medicines ‘a global human rights issue’, says UN health agency

19th EU-China Summit: A historical advance in the Chino-European rapprochement

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Student-to-Tutor Ratio: if things are to change, why not for the better?

Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics

Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Brexit: Citizens’ rights remain a key priority for MEPs

How farms are getting closer to consumers in the pandemic

Germany and France only care about keeping their borrowing cheap

Black History Month: What is it and why do we need it?

Crackdown on Christians in Eritrea spurs UN expert to press Government ‘to live up to its international commitments’

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

London wants to treat violent crime like a disease

Myanmar military committed ‘routine, systematic’ sexual violence against ethnic minorities, UN experts find

At last a solid base for the European Banking Union

We need impartial LGBT+ news to advance human rights

These are the ‘positive’ tipping points that could slow global warming

Mental health: privilege in coronavirus times

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

3 steps to making multistakeholder partnerships a powerful force

UN rights chief slams ‘unconscionable’ US border policy of separating migrant children from parents

On the Global Day of Parents, UNICEF is urging support for parents to give children ‘the best start in life’

What has a year of experiments taught us about basic income?

The EU Parliament and the ECB unknowingly or unwillingly fail to protect our financial assets

A fresh start on migration: Building confidence and striking a new balance between responsibility and solidarity

Public Health equality in a trench

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

Distributed ownership: what it means and how it could transform India

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

UN health agency launches week of action to ban lead paint

How leaders can harness the power of finance and technology for social good

Africa-Europe Alliance: EU boosts pan-African Internet connectivity with €30 million

Refugee crisis update: Commission still in panic while Turkey is to be added in the equation

Neither side stands to benefit in US-China trade spat, UN says

Spread of polio still an international public health concern

Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2019

India is building a high-tech sustainable city from scratch

10 things you – and your government – should know about competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Here are 3 lessons Europe can learn from China’s flourishing start-ups

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

Can Pakistan make its energy sector greener, cheaper and more reliable? The government thinks so

EU@UNGA 74: Working towards a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s