Some 780 million people around the world are going hungry and almost fifty million children are at risk of death from severe wasting, said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “Yet funding for this year’s global humanitarian appeal stands at just 32 percent,” he said in a message marking the World Food Day that falls on October 16. World Food Day 2023 comes during a global food crisis, with the world moving backwards on ending hunger and malnutrition. Brian Urquhart, early leader of United Nations, dies at 101 “This World Food Day, I call on governments, the private sector, civil society and academia to work together; to prioritize feeding the hungry; to bring ending this crisis to the top of the global agenda; and to invest in long-term solutions that provide everyone with enough to eat,” said the UN chief, noting that zero hunger is achievable. Guterres said in their world of plenty, it is outrageous that a person dies of hunger every few seconds, while the World Food Programme has been forced to cut its essential aid programmes. Kofi Annan was the United Nations In 2015, after years of progress, governments set the goal of zero hunger by 2030. But eight years later, the number of people suffering from hunger has increased significantly. “This crisis demands action – first and foremost from national governments, which have a responsibility to make sure their people have enough to eat. But many governments lack the resources to do so, and so effective international solidarity is also essential,” said the UN chief. The long-term causes of the global food crisis include conflicts, climate extremes, inequality, and economic instability, he said. Dr Debapriya reappointed to United Nations CDP The UN system is addressing these root causes through our support for sustainable, equitable food systems that put people over profits. “That means massively scaling up investments in resilient agriculture, and aligning them with climate action. It means leveraging science and technology to improve the efficiency and reach of food systems,” Guterres said. This year’s theme for World Food Day focuses on water – a necessity for nutritious and healthy food. The sustainable management of water for agriculture and food production is essential to end hunger, achieve the SDGs, and preserve water for future generations, said the UN chief.
UN steps up criticism of IMF and World Bank, the other pillars of the post-World War II global order
From the ashes of World War II, three institutions were created as linchpins of a new global order. Now, in an unusual move, the top official in one — the secretary-general of the United Nations — is pressing for major changes in the other two. Antonio Guterres says the International Monetary Fund has benefited rich countries instead of poor ones. And he describes the IMF and World Bank 's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a "glaring failure" that left dozens of countries deeply indebted. Also Read: Budget not based on IMF conditions: Finance Minister Guterres' criticism, in a recent paper, isn't the first time he's called for overhauling global financial institutions. But it is his most in-depth analysis of their problems, cast in light of their response to the pandemic, which he called a "stress test" for the organizations. His comments were issued ahead of meetings called by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday and Friday to address reforms of the multilateral development banks and other issues. Neither the IMF nor the World Bank would comment directly on the secretary-general's criticisms and proposals. But Guterres' comments echo those of outside critics, who see the IMF and World Bank's leadership limited by the powerful nations that control them — a situation similar to that of the United Nations, which has faced its own calls for reform. Also Read: Bangladesh faces external pressures, requires careful macroeconomic management: World Bank Maurice Kugler, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, told The Associated Press that the institutions' failure to help the neediest countries "reflects the persistence of a top-down approach in which the World Bank president is a U.S. national appointed by the U.S. president and the IMF managing director is a European Union national appointed by the European Commission." Richard Gowan, the International Crisis Group's U.N. director, said there is a lot of frustration with the U.S. and its European allies dominating decision-making, leaving African countries with only "a sliver of voting rights." Developing countries also complain that the bank's lending rules are weighted against them, he said. "In fairness, the bank has been trying to update its funding procedures to address these concerns, but it has not gone far enough to satisfy countries in the Global South," Gowan said. Guterres said it's time for the boards of the IMF and the World Bank to right what he called the historic wrongs and "bias and injustice built into the current international financial architecture." Also Read: Bangladesh receives $858 mln World Bank fund for agriculture growth, road safety That "architecture" was established when many developing countries were still under colonial rule. The IMF and what is now known as the World Bank Group were created at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in July 1944 to be key institutions of a postwar international monetary system. The IMF was to monitor exchange rates and lend reserve currencies to countries with balance of payment deficits. The World Bank would provide financial assistance for postwar reconstruction and for building the economies of less developed countries. Guterres said the institutions haven't kept pace with global growth. He said the World Bank has $22 billion in paid capital, the money used for low-interest loans and grants for government development programs. As a percentage of global GDP, that's less than one-fifth of the 1960 funding level. At the same time, many developing countries are in a deep financial crisis, exacerbated by inflation, rising interest rates and a standstill in debt relief. "Some governments are being forced to choose between making debt repayments or defaulting in order to pay public sector workers — possibly ruining their credit rating for years to come," Guterres said, adding that "Africa now spends more on debt service costs than on health care." The IMF's rules unfairly favor wealthy nations, he said. During the pandemic, the wealthy Group of Seven nations, with a population of 772 million, received the equivalent of $280 billion from the IMF while the least developed countries, with a population of 1.1 billion, were allocated just over $8 billion. "This was done according to the rules," Guterres said. This is "morally wrong." He called for major reforms that would strengthen the representation of developing countries on the boards of the IMF and World Bank, help countries restructure debts, change IMF quotas, and revamp the use of IMF funds. He also called for scaling up financing for economic development and tackling the impact of climate change. IMF spokesperson Julie Kozack, asked about Guterres' proposals at a June 8 news conference, said "I'm not in a position to comment on any of the specifics." She added that a review of IMF quotas is a priority and is expected to be completed by Dec. 15. In a written response to a query from the AP, the IMF said it has mounted "an unprecedented" response to the largest-ever request from countries for help dealing with recent shocks. After the pandemic hit, the IMF approved $306 billion in financing for 96 countries, including below-market rate loans to 57 low-income countries. It also increased interest-free lending fourfold to $24 billion and provided around $964 million in grants to 31 of its most vulnerable nations between April 2020 and 2022 so they could service their debts. The World Bank Group said in January that its shareholders have initiated a process "to better address the scale of development." The bank's development committee said in a March report that the bank "must evolve in response to the unprecedented confluence of global crises that has upended development progress and threatens people and the planet." Guterres' push for reforming the IMF and World Bank comes as the United Nations also faces demands for an overhaul of its structure, which still reflects the post-World War II global order. Gowan said many U.N. ambassadors think it might be "marginally easier" and more helpful to developing countries to overhaul the IMF and World Bank than to reform the U.N. Security Council, which has been debated for more than 40 years. While Guterres and U.N. ambassadors talk about reforming the financial institutions, any changes are up to their boards. Gowan noted that when the Obama administration engineered a reform of IMF voting rights in 2010, "Congress took five years to ratify the deal — and Congress is even more divided and dysfunctional now." "But Western governments are aware that China is an increasingly dominant lender in many developing countries," Gowan said, "so they have an interest in reforming the IMF and World Bank in ways that keep poorer states from relying on Beijing for loans." Beyond the Paris meeting, the debate over IMF and World Bank reforms will continue in September at a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 in New Delhi, and at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. U.S. climate chief John Kerry said in an Associated Press interview Wednesday that he will be attending the Paris summit along with IMF and World Bank officials. "Hopefully, new avenues of finance will be more defined than they have been," he said. "I think it's really important."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said world must speak with one voice — stop lies and disinformation, and stop targeting truth and truth-tellers. "As journalists stand up for truth, the world stands with them," he said in a message marking World Press Freedom Day that falls on May 3. For three decades, on World Press Freedom Day, the international community has celebrated the work of journalists and media workers. "Freedom of the press is the foundation of democracy and justice. It gives all of us the facts we need to shape opinions and speak truth to power. And as this year’s theme reminds us, press freedom represents the very lifeblood of human rights," Guterres said. But in every corner of the world, freedom of the press is under attack, he said. Truth is threatened by disinformation and hate speech seeking to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between science and conspiracy, the UN chief said. Also read: Repeal DSA, demands TIB marking World Press Freedom Day The increased concentration of the media industry into the hands of a few, the financial collapse of scores of independent news organizations, and an increase of national laws and regulations that stifle journalists are further expanding censorship and threatening freedom of expression, he said. Meanwhile, Guterres said, journalists and media workers are directly targeted on and offline as they carry out their vital work. They are routinely harassed, intimidated, detained and imprisoned. At least 67 media workers were killed in 2022 — an unbelievable 50 percent increase over the previous year. Nearly three quarters of women journalists have experienced violence online, and one in four have been threatened physically. Ten years ago, the United Nations established a plan of action on the safety of journalists to protect media workers and end impunity for crimes committed against them. The world must stop the threats and attacks, the UN chief said. "Stop detaining and imprisoning journalists for doing their jobs."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said water is the lifeblood of the world and climate change is wreaking havoc on water’s natural cycle. He said from health and nutrition, to education and infrastructure, water is vital to every aspect of human survival and wellbeing, and the economic development and prosperity of every nation. "We don’t have a moment to lose. Let’s make 2023 a year of transformation and investment for humanity’s lifeblood. Let’s take action to protect, sustainably manage and ensure equitable access to water for all," said the UN chief in a message marking World Water Day today. "But drop by drop, this precious lifeblood is being poisoned by pollution and drained by vampiric overuse, with water demand expected to exceed supply by 40 percent by decade’s end," Guterres said. Also Read: 26% of the world have no access to clean drinking water: UN He said greenhouse gas pollution continues to rise to all-time record levels, heating the world’s climate to dangerous levels. "This is worsening water-related disasters, disease outbreaks, water shortages and droughts, while inflicting damage to infrastructure, food production, and supply chains," Guterres said. The theme of this year’s World Water Day reminds all of the cost of these failures on the billions of people who lack access to safe water and sanitation. Out of every 100 people on earth, 25 fetch all their water from open streams and ponds — or pay high prices to buy water of dubious safety. Twenty-two relieve themselves outdoors or use dirty, dangerous or broken latrines. And 44 see their wastewater flow back into nature untreated, with disastrous health and environmental consequences. "In short, our world is dramatically — and dangerously — off-track to reaching our goal of safely managed water and sanitation for all by 2030," Guterres said. This year’s World Water Day reminds all of their individual and collective roles to protect and sustainably use and manage humanity’s lifeblood for present and future generations, he said. The United Nations Water Conference, which kicks off today (March 22), is a critical moment for national governments, local and regional authorities, businesses, scientists, youth, civil society organizations and communities to join forces, and co-design and invest in solutions to achieve clean water and sanitation for all, said the UN Secretary-General. Meanwhile, he said, governments, businesses and investors must take much bolder actions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, with the G20 leading the way. "We must break our addiction to fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy, while supporting developing countries every step of the way," said the UN chief.
The United Nations forecast Wednesday (January 25, 2023) that global economic growth will fall significantly to 1.9% this year as a result of the food and energy crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, persistently high inflation and the climate emergency. Painting a gloomy and uncertain economic outlook, the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs said the current global economic slowdown “cuts across both developed and developing countries, with many facing risks of recession in 2023.” “A broad-based and severe slowdown of the global economy looms large amid high inflation, aggressive monetary tightening, and heightened uncertainties,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a foreword to the 178-page report. The report said this year's 1.9% economic growth forecast — down from an estimated 3% in 2022 — is one of the lowest growth rates in recent decades. But it projects a moderate pick-up to 2.7% in 2024 if inflation gradually abates and economic headwinds start to subside. Read More: Global economic growth will slow down in 2023, but will pick up in 2024: IMF chief In its annual report earlier this month, the World Bank which lends money to poorer countries for development projects, cut its growth forecast nearly in half, from it previous projection of 3% to just 1.7%. The International Monetary Fund, which provides loans to needy countries, projected in October that global growth would slow from 6% in 2021 to 3.2% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos that 2023 will be a difficult year, but stuck by the projection and said “we don’t expect a global recession.” Shantanu Mukherjee, director of the economic analysis and policy division of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the growing income inequality in the world at a news conference launching the report. Between 2019 and 2021, he said, average incomes for the top 10% rose by 1.2% while the incomes of the lowest 40% fell by 0.5%. Read More: Bangladesh-Turkiye Business Forum launched to usher in new era of economic cooperation “The top 10% now earns on average over 42 times what the lowest percentiles” earn, Mukherjee said. According to the U.N. report, this year “growth momentum has weakened in the United States, the European Union and other developed economies, adversely affecting the rest of the world economy.” In the United States, GDP is projected to expand by only 0.4% in 2023 after estimated growth of 1.8% in 2022, the U.N. said. And many European countries are projected to experience “a mild recession" with the war in Ukraine heading into its second year on Feb. 14, high energy costs, and inflation and tighter financial conditions depressing household consumption and investment. The economies in the 27-nation European Union are forecast to grow by just 0.2% in 2023, down from an estimated 3.3% in 2022, the U.N. said. And in the United Kingdom, which left the EU three years ago, GDP is projected to contract by 0.8% in 2023, continuing a recession that began in the second half of 2022, it said. Read More: China’s economic growth falls to second-lowest level in four decades With China’s government abandoning its zero-COVID policy late last year and easing monetary and fiscal policies, the U.N. forecast that its economy, which expanded by only 3% in 2022, will accelerate to 4.8% this year. “But the reopening of the economy is expected to be bumpy,” the U.N. said. ”Growth will likely remain well below the pre-pandemic rate of 6-6.5%.” The U.N. report said Japan’s economy is expected to be among the better-performing among developed countries this year, with GDP forecast to increase by 1.5%, slightly lower than last year’s estimated growth of 1.6%. Across east Asia, the U.N. said economic recovery remains fragile though GDP growth in 2023 is forecast to reach 4.4%, up from 3.2% last year, and stronger than in other regions. Read More: AL govt's ouster a 'must' to tackle political, economic crises In South Asia, the U.N. forecast average GDP growth will slow from 5.6% last year to 4.8% this year as a result of high food and energy prices, “monetary tightening and fiscal vulnerabilities.” But growth in India, which is expected to overtake China this year as the world’s most populous nation, is expected to remain strong at 5.8%, slightly lower than the estimated 6.4% in 2022, “as higher interest rates and a global slowdown weigh on investments and exports,” the U.N. report said. In Western Asia, oil-producing countries are benefiting from high prices and rising output as well as a revival in tourism, the U.N. said. But economies that aren’t oil producers remain weak “given tightening access to international finance and severe fiscal constraints,” and average growth in the region is projected to slow from an estimated 6.4% in 2022 to 3.5% this year. The U.N. said Africa has been hit “by multiple shocks, including weaker demand from key trading partners (especially China and Europe), a sharp increase in energy and food prices, rapidly rising borrowing costs and adverse weather events.” Read More: Burden of Bangladesh’s economic and political stability must be shared One result, it said, is mounting debt-servicing burdens which have forced a growing number of African governments to seek bilateral and multilateral support. The U.N. projected economic growth in Africa to slow from an estimated 4.1% in 2022 to 3.8% this year. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.N. said the outlook “remains challenging,” citing labor market prospects, stubbornly high inflation and other issues. It forecast that regional growth will slow to just 1.4% in 2023 from an estimated expansion of 3.8% in 2022. “The region’s largest economies – Argentina, Brazil and Mexico – are expected to grow at very low rates due to tightening financial conditions, weakening exports, and domestic vulnerabilities,” the U.N. said. Read More: Bangladesh considering ‘pros and cons’ of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: Momen For the world’s least developed countries, the U.N. said growth is projected at 4.4% this year, about the same as last year but significantly below the UN's target of 7% by 2030.
Over 280 million people have left their countries to pursue “opportunity, dignity, freedom, and a better life”, the UN chief said on Sunday marking the International Migrants Day. “But unregulated migration along increasingly perilous routes – the cruel realm of traffickers – continues to extract a terrible cost”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in a message marking the day. He credited the more than 80 per cent of those who cross borders in a safe and orderly manner as powerful drivers of “economic growth, dynamism, and understanding”. Over the past eight years, at least 51,000 migrants have died, and thousands of others gone missing, said the top UN official. “Behind each number is a human being – a sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, or father”, he said, reminding that “migrant rights are human rights”. “They must be respected without discrimination – and irrespective of whether their movement is forced, voluntary, or formally authorized”. ‘Do everything possible’ Guterres urged the world to “do everything possible” to prevent their loss of life – as a humanitarian imperative and a moral and legal obligation. And he pushed for search and rescue efforts, medical care, expanded and diversified rights-based pathways for migration, and greater international investments in countries of origin “to ensure migration is a choice, not a necessity”. Read more: International Migrants Day being observed There is no migration crisis; there is a crisis of solidarity”, the Secretary-General concluded. “Today and every day, let us safeguard our common humanity and secure the rights and dignity of all”. Realize basic rights Head of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Gilbert F. Houngbo, shone a light on protecting the rights of the world’s 169 million migrant workers. “The international community must do better to ensure… [that they] are able to realize their basic human and labour rights”, he spelled out in his message for the day. Leaving them unable to exercise basic rights renders migrant workers “invisible, vulnerable and undervalued for their contributions to society”, pointed out the most senior ILO official. And when intersecting with race, ethnicity, and gender, they become even more vulnerable to various forms of discrimination. Houngbo flagged that migrants do not only go missing on high-risk and desperate journeys. “Many migrant domestic, agricultural and other workers are isolated and out of reach of those who could protect them”, with the undocumented particularly at risk of abuse. Fair labour migration Meanwhile, ILO supports governments, employers and workers to make fair labour migration a reality. Like all employees, migrant workers are entitled to labour standards and international human rights protections, including freedom of association and collective bargaining, non-discrimination, and safe and healthy working environments, upheld the ILO chief. They should also be entitled to social protection, development and recognition. To make these rights a reality,Houngbo stressed the key importance of fair recruitment, including eliminating recruitment fees charged to migrant workers, which can help eradicate human trafficking and forced labour. Read more: US plans for more migrant releases when asylum limits end “Access to decent work is a key strategy to realize migrants’ development potential and contribution to society,” he said. Meanwhile, in his message, the head of the International Migration Organization (IMO), António Vitorino, described migrants as “being a cornerstone of development and progress”. “We can’t let the politicization of migration, hostility and divisive narratives divert us from the values that matter most”, he urged.
North Korea’s foreign minister called U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “a puppet of the United States” as she slammed the U.N. chief for joining U.S.-led condemnation of the North's recent intercontinental ballistic missile test. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier issued a statement strongly condemning North Korea’s ICBM launch on Friday and reiterating his call on the North to “to immediately desist from taking any further provocative actions.” Guterres’s statement came after the United States and other countries issued similar criticism of the North's ICBM test that showed an potential to strike anywhere in the continental U.S. “I often take the U.N. secretary-general for a member of the U.S. White House or its State Department,” North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by state media. “I express my strong regret over the fact that the U.N. secretary-general has taken a very deplorable attitude, oblivious of the purpose and principles of the U.N. Charter and its proper mission which is to maintain impartiality, objectivity and equity in all matters.” Read more: Missile tests practiced to attack South, US: North Korea Choe accused Guterres of overlooking the U.S. and its allies taking the North’s ICBM test to the U.N. Security Council, saying that “This clearly proves that he is a puppet of the U.S.” The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday morning on North Korea’s ICBM launch at Japan’s request. But it’s unclear if it can impose new economic sanctions on North Korea because China and Russia, two of the council’s veto-wielding members, have opposed the previous U.S. and its allies’ moves to toughen sanctions on the North over its banned tests of ballistic missiles earlier this year. On Sunday, top diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies issued a joint statement calling for strong steps by the U.N. Security Council in reaction to the North Korean missile launch. “(North Korea’s) actions demand a united and robust response by the international community, including the need for further significant measures to be taken by the U.N. Security Council,” said the statement by foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Friday’s ICBM launch was the latest in North Korea’s ongoing torrid run of missile tests that experts say are meant to boost its nuclear capability and increase its leverage in future diplomacy. North Korea said leader Kim Jong Un observed Friday's launch of its Hwasong-17 missile and called it another "reliable and maximum-capacity” weapon to contain U.S. military threats. Some experts say the Hwasong-17 is still under development but it's the North's longest-range missile and is designed to carry several nuclear warheads to overcome U.S. missile defense systems. Read more: North Korea continues its bombardment of missiles with a potential ICBM North Korea has argued its testing activities are a warning to the United States and South Korea over their series of military drills that the North believes were an invasion rehearsal. Washington and Seoul have maintained their exercises are defensive in nature. In her statement Monday, Choe again defended her country’s missile tests, calling them “legitimate and just exercise of the right to self-defense” against “provocative nuclear war rehearsals” by the United States and its allies. She said it’s “most amazing and deplorable to me” as Guterres still blamed North Korea for a recent flare-up in tensions on the Korean Peninsula, not the United States. A day before her country’s ICBM test, Choe threatened to threatened to launch “fiercer” military responses to steps by the U.S. to bolster its security commitment to South Korea and Japan.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday that the planet is heading toward irreversible “climate chaos” and urged global leaders at the upcoming climate summit in Egypt to put the world back on track to cut emissions, keep promises on climate financing and help developing countries speed their transition to renewable energy. The U.N. chief said the 27th annual Conference of the 198 Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change — better known as COP27 — “must be the place to rebuild trust and re-establish the ambition needed to avoid driving our planet over the climate cliff.” He said the most important outcome of COP27, which begins Nov. 6 in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, is to have “a clear political will to reduce emissions faster.” That requires a historical pact between richer developed countries and emerging economies, Guterres said. “And if that pact doesn’t take place, we will be doomed.” In the pact, the secretary-general said, wealthier countries must provide financial and technical assistance – along with support from multilateral development banks and technology companies – to help emerging economies speed their renewable energy transition. Guterres said that in the last few weeks, reports have painted “a clear and bleak picture” of global-warming greenhouse gas emissions still growing at record levels instead of going down 45% by 2030 as scientists say must happen. The landmark Paris agreement adopted in 2015 to address climate change called for global temperatures to rise a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Guterres said greenhouse gas emissions are now on course to rise by 10%, and temperatures are on course to rise by as much as 2.8 degrees Celsius under present policies by the end of the century. Read more: Climate Change: Int’l community must act with fund and solutions to help most vulnerable nations “And that means our planet is on course for reaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible and forever bake in catastrophic temperature rise,” the secretary-general warned. He said the 1.5 degree goal “is in intensive care” and “in high danger,” but it’s still possible to meet it. “And my objective in Egypt is to make sure that we gather enough political will to make this possibility really moving forward,” the U.N. chief said. “COP27 must be the place to close the ambition gap, the credibility gap and the solidarity gap,” Guterres said. “It must put us back on track to cutting emissions, boosting climate resilience and adaptation, keeping the promise on climate finance and addressing loss and damage from climate change.” Rich countries, especially the United States, have emitted far more than their share of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, data shows. Poor nations like Pakistan, where recent floods left a third of the country under water, have been hurt far more than their share of global carbon emissions. Loss and damage has been talked about for years, but richer nations have often balked at negotiating details about paying for past climate disasters, like Pakistan’s flooding this summer. “Loss and damage have been the always-postponed issue,” Guterres said. “There is no more time to postpone it. We must recognize loss and damage and we must create an institutional framework to deal with it.” Read more: UN, ADB to support Bangladesh's fight against climate change The secretary-general said Thursday that “getting concrete results on loss and damage is the litmus test of the commitment of the governments to close all of these gaps.” “COP27 must lay the foundations for much faster, bolder climate action now and in this crucial decade, when the global climate fight will be won or lost,” Guterres said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for embracing Gandhi’s values and working across cultures and borders to build a better, more peaceful future. "Let us walk this path together, in solidarity, as one human family," he said in a message marking the International Day of Non-violence that falls on October 2. The International Day of Non-Violence celebrates not only Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, but the values he embodied that echo across decades: peace, mutual respect, and the essential dignity shared by every person. Read: Peace is the only practical way to a better, fairer world for all: UN Chief "Sadly, our world is not living up to those values," Guterres said. He said the world is going through growing conflicts and climate chaos. "Poverty, hunger and deepening inequalities. Prejudice, racism and rising hate speech. And a morally bankrupt global financial system that entrenches poverty and stymies recovery for developing countries," he mentioned. Read: Divisions among major powers since Russia invaded Ukraine must be addressed: UN Chief The UN chief laid emphasis on investing in people’s health, education, decent jobs and social protection. On the International Day of Non-violence, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, also highlighted the importance of supporting developing countries as they build resilient infrastructure and protect populations from the impacts of climate change, while also accelerating the transition from planet-killing fossil fuels to renewable energy. "Gandhi’s life and example reveal a timeless pathway to a more peaceful and tolerant world," said the UN chief. Read Let's build a more just, thriving workforce leaving no one behind: Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday proclaimed unwavering U.N. commitment to a fully denuclearized North Korea, even as a divided Security Council allows more room for the isolated country to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Meeting South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul, Guterres said he affirms the U.N.’s “clear commitment to the full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and DPRK,” using the initials of North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “There’s a fundamental objective to bring peace, security and stability to the whole region,” he told Yoon, while also praising South Korea’s participation in international peacekeeping efforts and fighting climate change. Guterres, who arrived in South Korea on Thursday, later met with South Korean Foreign Minster Park Jin for discussions that were expected to be centered around the North Korean nuclear threat. Also read: UN chief warns world is one step from 'nuclear annihilation' North Korea has test-fired more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, including its first flights of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as leader Kim Jong Un pushes to advance his nuclear arsenal in the face of what North Korea has called “gangster-like” U.S.-led pressure and sanctions. The unusually fast pace in weapons demonstrations also underscore brinkmanship aimed at forcing Washington to accept the idea of North Korea as a nuclear power and negotiating badly needed sanctions relief and security concessions from a position of strength, experts say. The U.S. and South Korean governments have also said the North is gearing up to conduct its first nuclear test since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a nuclear warhead designed for its ICBMs. While the Biden administration has said it would push for additional sanctions if North Korea conducts another nuclear test, the prospects for meaningful punitive measures are unclear. China and Russia recently vetoed U.S.-sponsored resolutions at the U.N. Security Council that would have increased sanctions on the North over some of its ballistic missile testing this year, underscoring division between the council’s permanent members that has deepened over Russia’s war on Ukraine. Guterres’ meetings with South Korean officials came a day after North Korea claimed a widely disputed victory over COVID-19 but also blamed rival South Korea for the outbreak, vowing “deadly” retaliation. The North insists its initial infections were caused by leaflets and other objects flown across the border on balloons launched by South Korea's anti-Pyongyang activists, a claim Seoul describes as unscientific and “ridiculous." Also read: UN chief lauds Bangladesh’s socio-economic development North Korea has a history of dialing up pressure on the South when it doesn’t get what it wants from the United States, and there are concerns that North Korea's threat portends a provocation, which might include nuclear or missile tests or even border skirmishes.