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UN Secretary General names seven biggest threats to humanity

September 19, 23:39 UTC+3 UN

According to Guterres, "we are a world in pieces," which needs to become "a world in peace" instead

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UN, September 19. /TASS/. Addressing the 72nd UN General Assembly on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres named nuclear weapons, international terrorism, armed conflicts, climate change and negative consequences of scientific progress among the seven most serious threats that the humanity has to face.

"’We the peoples’, and the United Nations, face grave challenges," he said. "People are hurting and angry. They see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing."

"The global economy is increasingly integrated, but our sense of global community may be disintegrating," the UN chief continued. "Societies are fragmented. Political discourse is polarized."

According to Guterres, "we are a world in pieces," which needs to become "a world in peace" instead. However, those difficulties could be overcome with the help from the UN, and it was still possible to "restore trust and create a better world for all."

 

Nuclear threat and terrorism

 

The use of nuclear weapons, which the UN secretary general linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions, was the first in the list of most serious threats for humanity. According to the UN leader, "the use of nuclear weapons should be unthinkable."

"Even the threat of their use can never be condoned," he said, adding that he "unequivocally" condemned North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests.

"I call on the DPRK and all Member States to comply fully with Security Council resolutions," Guterres said. He also called on the UN Security Council to "maintain its unity" on the issue, because it was the only thing that could lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and create an opportunity for diplomatic engagement.

He warned against "fiery talk," which "can lead to fatal misunderstandings."

The second issue on the list of the world’s most pressing threats was global terrorism. In this respect, the UN chief said he planned to convene the first-ever gathering of heads of national counter-terrorism agencies with an aim to establish "a new International Counter-Terrorism Partnership."

"But it is not enough to fight terrorists on the battlefield or to deny them funds," he said. "We must do more to address the roots of radicalization, including real and perceived injustices and high levels of unemployment and grievance among young people."

 

Conflicts and climate

 

Armed conflicts, that keep raging in various regions, also remain a serious threat for the humanity, according to Guterres.

"No one is winning today’s wars. From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to the Sahel, Afghanistan and elsewhere, only political solutions can bring peace," he said. "We should have no illusions. We will not be able to eradicate terrorism if we do not resolve the conflicts that are creating the disorder within which violent extremists flourish."

The UN chief also mentioned the sectarian tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, which have already forced more than 400,000 people to flee, in his speech.

"The authorities in Myanmar must end the military operations, allow unhindered humanitarian access and recognize the right of refugees to return in safety and dignity. They must also address the grievances of the Rohingya, whose status has been left unresolved for far too long," he said.

Addressing the climate change, Guterres said that last year was the hottest ever and the past decade has been the hottest on record. The number of natural disasters has quadrupled since 1970, he added.

"We should not link any single weather event with climate change. But scientists are clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world," he said. "I urge Governments to implement the historic Paris Agreement with ever greater ambition."

 

Inequality, migrants and "dark side" of progress

 

The remaining three major threats to humanity, named by the UN Secretary General, were the growing inequality, the issue of migrants and the dark side of technological progress.

In his speech, the UN chief explained how globalization and technological advances have brought uneven benefits, and highlighted the dark side of innovation, such as cybersecurity threats, along with the possible negative implications of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

He also commented on the current refugee crisis, which, according to him, was not a threat, but "a challenge that, if properly managed, can help bring the world together."

"Every country has the right to control its own borders. But that must be done in a way that protects the rights of people on the move," he said. "I have been pained to see the way refugees and migrants have been stereotyped and scapegoated - and to see political figures stoke resentment in search of electoral gain."

In conclusion, Guterres assured that he was committed to reforming the UN to make it more prepared to face the present-day tasks.

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