Category: UN chief (Page 1 of 2)

UN chief: “Humanity remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation”.

“Now is the time to eliminate nuclear weapons from our world , and usher in a new era of dialogue, trust and peace”, declared UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday, marking the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Addressing the threat of nuclear weapons, said Mr, Guterres, has been central to the work of the United Nations since its inception.

The first UN General Assembly resolution in 1946 sought “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.” 

The UN chief pointed out that, although the total number of nuclear weapons has been decreasing for decades, some 14,000 are stockpiled around the world.

Which is facing the highest level of nuclear risk in almost four decades: “States are qualitatively improving their arsenals, and we are seeing worrying signs of a new arms race.”

Humanity, continued the UN chief, remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation, according UN News.

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UN chief Antonio Guterres appeals for countries to sign nuclear test-ban treaty.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday again urged eight key countries which have not yet signed or ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), to do so without delay.

His request came in remarks to the latest conference to promote the treaty’s entry into force, which were delivered by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu.

Near universal acceptance

The CTBT was adopted in 1996 and has been signed by 185 countries, and ratified by 170 of them, including three nuclear weapons-holding States: France, Russia and the United Kingdom.

However, for the Treaty to enter into force, it must be signed and ratified by 44 specific nuclear technology holder countrieseight of which have yet to ratify the Treaty: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

The last Annex 2 State to ratify the Treaty was Indonesia on 6 February 2012.

The UN Secretary-General stated that a prohibition on nuclear testing is an essential element of a nuclear weapons-free world.

The CTBThas created an almost universally adopted norm against the testing of nuclear weapons,” he added.

“Given its necessity and readiness, it is both disappointing and frustrating that the Treaty has not yet entered into force.

We all know the reason for this, the eight remaining Annex II States whose ratifications are required for the Treaty’s entry-into-force,” he said.

“As a result, a critical element of our collective security cannot be fully operationalized.

I repeat my call to these States to sign and ratify the CTBT as soon as possible.

I also call on all other States that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty to do so without delay”, according UN News.

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UN chief: “Restore trust and inspire hope” to UN General Assembly.

With humanity on the edge of an abyss, and moving in the wrong direction, the world must wake up“, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his keynote address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

Antonio Guterres called for greater action in areas such as climate policy, gender equality and closing the gap between rich and poor.

“This is our time.

A moment for transformation. 

An era to re-ignite multilateralism. 

An age of possibilities,” the UN Secretary-General told world leaders and ambassadors.      

“Let us restore trust. 

Let us inspire hope.

And let us start right now.”

Amid “the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes”, which include the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, and upheaval in places such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Yemen.

Mr. Guterres singled out one disturbing image as indicative of the present moment, citing “the picture we have seen from some parts of the world of COVID-19 vaccines…in the garbage.

Expired and unused”.

“On the one hand, we see the vaccines developed in record time, a victory of science and human ingenuity.

On the other hand, we see that triumph undone by the tragedy of a lack of political will, selfishness and mistrust.”

For the UN Secretary-General, the fact that most wealthier countries are vaccinated, while more than 90 per cent of Africans are still awaiting their first dose, was “a moral indictment of the state of our world” and “an obscenity”, according UN News.

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UN chief: “Paris climate deal could go up in smoke without action”.

Unless wealthy nations commit to tackling emissions now, the world is on a “catastrophic pathway” to 2.7-degrees of heating by the end of the century, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned on Friday.

This is far beyond the one to 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, agreed by the international community as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The UN chief’s remarks came after the UN’s climate agency (UNFCCC) published an update on national climate action plans (officially known as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) submitted by the 191 countries which signed Agreement.

The report indicates that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over timenations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent disastrous global heating in the future.

Not enough

The document includes updates to the NDCs of 113 countries that represent around 49% of global emissions, including the nations of the European Union and the United States.

Those countries overall expect their greenhouse gas emissions to decrease by 12% in 2030 compared to 2010. 

“This is an important step,” the report points out, but insufficient, as highlighted by Mr. Guterres at Friday’s Forum of Major Economies on Energy and Climate, hosted by the President of the United States, Joe Biden.

“We need a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century

It is clear that everyone must assume their responsibilities”, he emphasized.

70 countries indicated their embrace of carbon neutrality goals by around the middle of the century.

If this materializes, it could lead to even greater emissions reductions, of about 26% by 2030, compared to 2010, the report explains, according UN News.

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UNGA 76th session started, President calls on member states to embrace hope.

The United Nations General Assembly on opened its 76th session on Tuesday, with the UNGA president Abdulla Shahid and the UN chief Antionio Guterres imploring member states to embrace hope.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be the most challenging period the world has seen since the Second World War, said the UN Secretary-General on Tuesday, as the 75th session of the General Assembly gave way to the new, deepening inequalities, decimating economies and plunging millions into extreme poverty

Passing on the gavel to the new UN General Assembly president, António Guterres saluted his predecessor: “Throughout this difficult and historic moment, we have all been fortunate to rely on the leadership of His Excellency, President Volkan Bozkir”. 

The UN chief credited the outgoing Turkish diplomat and politician for prioritizing a sustainable recovery, rooted in the 2030 Agenda, and supporting countries and communities as they rebuild systems shattered by the pandemic. 

83 heads of state expected to attend 76th session of UN General Assembly.

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UN chief: $1 billion pledge a ‘quantum leap’ in commitment to Afghanistan.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday hailed significant international financial support pledged to the people of Afghanistan following a meeting in Geneva, which nearly doubled the initial $606 million flash appeal for the country.

“Today, we have already heard clearly more than $1 billion in pledges, it represents a quantum leap in relation to the financial commitment of the international community towards the Afghan people,” said Mr. Guterres.

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths confirmed in his closing remarks to the meeting that more than $1.2 billion in humanitarian and development aid in total had been promised, incorporating both Monday’s appeal, and the regional response.

A ‘lifeline’ for Afghans

The funding will throw a lifeline to Afghans who lack those services; to the small children that Henrietta Fore of UNICEF spoke of, who face the risk of acute malnutrition.

And to the many women and girls who could lose their access to reproductive health services, and much more,” said the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and head of the UN humanitarian affairs office.

In an encounter with journalists on the sidelines of the high-level ministerial meeting, the UN Secretary-General noted that the fact that nearly 100 Member States had taken part in helping Afghanistan,

This in addition to more than 30 regional and international organisations, underscored that the crisis in Afghanistan remained a crucial issue for the global community, according UN News.

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UN chief: “support Afghans in their most perilous hour”.

The international community should urgently offer a “lifeline” to millions of vulnerable Afghans “who face perhaps their most perilous hour”, the UN Secretary-General said on Monday.

Leading the appeal in Geneva for $606 million to support emergency aid for 11 million people across the country, António Guterres said that even before the uncertainty caused by the Taliban takeover last month, people were in the grip of one of the worst crises in the world.

“The people of Afghanistan need a lifeline,” he said. 

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour.

Now is the time for the international community to stand with them”, according UN News.

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UN chief Antonio Guterres urges: “time to think big about future international cooperation”.

Celebrating the United Nations 75th anniversary last year, prompted major internal discussion about its future, and a new direction away from the post-World War Two consensus of its early days.

These reflections have resulted in Our Common Agenda, a landmark new report released on Friday by the UN Secretary-General, setting out his vision for the future of global cooperation.

Antonio Guterres launched the report at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Friday, prefacing his remarks with a scathing overview of the parlous state of a world he described as being under enormous stress, and warning that the world risks a future of “serious instability and climate chaos”.

From the climate crisis to our suicidal war on nature and the collapse of biodiversity, our global response is too little, too late”, declared the UN Secretary-General.

Unchecked inequality is undermining social cohesion, creating fragilities that affect us all.

Technology is moving ahead without guard rails to protect us from its unforeseen consequences.”

The UN chief went on to describe the extensive consultations that fed into its development, a listening exercise that led the UN to the conclusion that enhanced multilateralism is seen as the way to deal with the world’s crises.

This approach would herald a new era for multilateralism, in which countries work together to solve global problems; the international system works fast to protect everyone in emergencies; and the UN is universally recognized as a trusted platform for collaboration, according UN News.

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UN chief: protecting education, means ‘we protect the future’.

The global community needs to say with one voice that “attacks on schools must stop”, the UN chief urged at a virtual event on Thursday commemorating the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.  

Schools must be places of learning, safety and peace”, he said, lauding education as not only providing knowledge and skills but also transforming lives and driving development for people, communities and for societies. 

Nevertheless, he added, “year after year, this fundamental right comes under attack”. 

The UN Secretary-General cited the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in revealing that between 2015 and 2020, over 13,000 reports of strikes on education, or the military use of educational facilities, had been recorded around the world. 

“And this threat is not lessening, as the horrifying events in Afghanistan are showing us so starkly”, he said, according UN News.

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United Nations report: human activity the cause of disasters around the world.

Disasters such as cyclones, floods, and droughts are more connected than we might think, and human activity is the common thread, a UN report released on Wednesday reveals.

The study from the United Nations University, the academic and research arm of the UN, looks at 10 different disasters that occurred in 2020 and 2021, and finds that, even though they occurred in very different locations and do not initially appear to have much in common, they are, in fact, interconnected.

A consequence of human influence

The study builds on the ground-breaking Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment released on 9 August, and based on improved data on historic heating, which showed that human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years.

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General described the IPCC assessment as a “code red for humanity”.

Over the 2020-2021 period covered by the UN University, several record-breaking disasters took place, including the COVID-19 pandemic, a cold wave which crippled the US state of Texas, wildfires which destroyed almost 5 million acres of Amazon rainforest, and 9 heavy storms in Viet Nam, in the span of only 7 weeks.

The new report identifies three root causes that affected most of the events in the analysis: human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, insufficient disaster risk management, and undervaluing environmental costs and benefits in decision-making.

The first of these, human induced greenhouse gas emissions, is identified as one of the reasons why Texas experienced freezing temperatures, but these emissions also contribute to the formation of super cyclones such as Cyclone Amphan, on the other side of the world.

The report also shows how the record rate of deforestation in the Amazon is linked to the high global demand for meat: this demand has led to an increase in the need for soy, which is used as animal feed for poultry.

As a result, tracts of forest are being cut down.

“What we can learn from this report is that disasters we see happening around the world are much more interconnected than we may realize, and they are also connected to individual behaviour”, says one of the report’s authors, UNU scientist Jack O’Connor.

“Our actions have consequences, for all of us”, according UN News.

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