‘Act decisively before it is too late:’ UN Secretary-General lays out 2023 priorities


United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres presented his priorities for this year at the UN General Assembly in New York, USA on Monday, Feb. 6.

“As we look to priorities for this year, a rights-rooted approach is central to achieving our ultimate priority: a safer, more peaceful, more sustainable world,” he said, as he urged countries to “act decisively before it is too late.”

Guterres appealed for urgent action to achieve peace, economic rights and development, climate action, respect for diversity, and inclusive societies, both today and for generations to come.

Before laying out the 2023 plans, the secretary-general extended condolences to the families of the earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria. He said the UN is taking action to support the response.

Guterres said the symbolic clock called the “Doomsday Clock,” which was developed more than 75 years ago by atomic scientists to measure humanity’s proximity to self-collapse, was just 90 seconds away from that destruction.

“This is the closest the clock has ever stood to humanity’s darkest hour, closer than even during the height of the Cold War. In truth, the Doomsday Clock is a global alarm clock. We need to wake up and get to work,” he stated.

He noted that the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the climate emergency, rising nuclear threats, and the undermining of global norms and institutions have pushed the world closer to annihilation. “We need a course correction,” he said.

He added that action is possible, but politicians and decision-makers lack the strategic vision to see beyond the short term.

Gutteres called on nations to work for peace, as he mentioned the various global crises and conflicts such as the Israel-Palestinian armed conflict in the Middle East, women’s rights issues in Afghanistan, security concerns of the people in Sahel, Africa, cycles of violence and repression in Myanmar, and the prominence of gang violence in Haiti.

He also talked about numerous critical issues concerning the patriarchal society, diversity, online hate, and nuclear war, among others.

The secretary-general announced that he will convene a Climate Ambition Summit in September, ahead of the COP28 conference in the United Arab Emirates in December.

The summit will be open to all government officials, business owners, and society leaders.

He urged richer countries to provide results of the plans they stated at the UN COP27 climate change conference in Egypt in 2022.

“Show us accelerated action in this decade and renewed ambitious net zero plans – or please don’t show up.”

“My message today comes down to this: Don’t focus solely on what may happen to you today – and dither. Look at what will happen to all of us tomorrow – and act,” Guterres said.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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