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“Peace is the Missing Piece”: UN Secretary-General on Priorities for 2024

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10 Feb 2024
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“Peace is the Missing Piece”: UN Secretary-General on Priorities for 2024

 

“Peace is the Missing Piece”: UN Secretary-General on Priorities for 2024

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Guterres identified the Summit of the Future as an opportunity to shape more effective and inclusive multilateralism in our increasingly multipolar world, including through the delivery of reform of international financial architecture, reform of the Security Council, meaningful youth engagement in decision making, and an emergency platform to respond to complex shocks.

He emphasized the need to strengthen global peace and security frameworks through the new agenda for peace, and called for a new social contract, based on trust, justice, inclusion, and human rights, with women’s active participation in all segments of society.

 

Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA), UN Secretary-General António Guterres briefed Member States on his priorities for 2024. The Secretary-General highlighted “peace in all its dimensions” as his top goal for the year.

Addressing the Assembly, Guterres stressed that global peace is increasingly threatened by growing geopolitical tensions, polarization, and inequalities and that peace with nature in incompatible with the world’s “addiction” to fossil fuels. As more families fall behind, more countries drown in debt, and more people lose trust in institutions, peace is “a rallying cry and our call to action,” he underscored.

Among “reasons for hope,” the Secretary-General highlighted endorsement at the SDG Summit of the SDG Stimulus and of the need for reform of the global financial architecture, conclusion of the high seas treaty, and operationalization of the loss and damage fund.

Looking ahead, Guterres identified the Summit of the Future as an opportunity to shape more effective and inclusive multilateralism in our increasingly multipolar world, including through the delivery of reform of international financial architecture, reform of the Security Council, meaningful youth engagement in decision making, and an emergency platform to respond to complex shocks.

The Secretary-General called on Member States to prioritize dialogue over conflict and push for peace across the globe, including in Gaza, Ukraine, the Sahel, the Sudan, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Yemen, Myanmar, and Haiti.

Expressing concern over the deadlock in the Security Council, nuclear proliferation, and the lack of funding for humanitarian work, Guterres emphasized the need to strengthen global peace and security frameworks through the new agenda for peace. He said the Security Council must be able to take and implement decisions, its membership must be expanded, and its work methods updated so it can make progress even when its members “are sharply divided.” Among other features of the new agenda for peace, the Secretary-General highlighted its focus on the elimination of nuclear weapons, conflict prevention, and prevention of global trade rules’ fragmentation. He said it recognizes the linkages between sustainable development, climate action, and peace, respects human rights, and calls for meaningful inclusion of women and youth in all peace processes.

Warning about increasing disinformation and inequality, Guterres called for a new social contract, based on trust, justice, inclusion, and human rights, with women’s active participation in all segments of society. He said a code of conduct for information integrity will be published ahead of the Summit of the Future, to help decision makers make the digital space inclusive and safe for everyone, while defending the freedom of expression.

Noting that sustainable and inclusive development hinges on peace, the Secretary-General said delivering the SDGs is the most effective way of building peace and prosperity. Guterres underscored that developing countries continue to face impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and high costs of servicing debt that surpass public spending on education, health, and infrastructure. He said the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in May and Third UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) in June will discuss the issues of finance and reform of the global financial architecture.

The Secretary-General urged Member States to harness the power of technology to reduce inequalities and advance sustainable development, highlighting generative AI’s potential to help build inclusive and green sustainable economies, but warning that it must not replace human agency and remain under human control. He said the recommendations of the Advisory Board on AI will feed into the global digital compact proposed for adoption at the Summit of the Future.

Guterres called on Member States to use this year’s UN Biodiversity Conference, the UN Climate Change Conference, and the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to “make peace with nature.” Highlighting the climate crisis as the “defining challenge of our time,” he said to keep global warming to 1.5°C, emissions must fall 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and peak by 2025. He urged countries to take action in three critical areas:

  • Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that need to cover all emissions and sectors and map a just transition to clean energy;
  • A rapid fossil fuel phaseout, enabled by a “renewables revolution” where critical minerals provide maximum added value to developing countries that supply them, noting that the Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals will develop voluntary principles by the end of the year; and
  • Finance, to leapfrog fossil fuel dependence to clean power for all, urging agreement at climate COP 29 on an ambitious new finance goal and significant capitalization of the loss and damage fund.

Highlighting peace as “humanity’s greatest responsibility,” Guterres urged Member States to meet this obligation towards current and future generations today, “starting here, starting now.”

The Secretary-General addressed the UNGA’s plenary meeting on 7 February 2024. [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources] [UN News Story]

 

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SOURCE: SDG KNOWLEDGE HUB

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