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Reuters: UN chief laments the ‘failures of global governance’ — Urges world to ‘go into emergency mode’ to tackle ‘climate crisis’

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 21 (Reuters) – U.N. chief Antonio Guterres, lamenting a failure of global governance, urged the world to go into emergency mode to tackle COVID-19, the climate crisis and global finance reform, put humanity at the center of technology and bring peace.

In an address to the 193-member General Assembly, UN chief António Guterres on Friday urged the world to “go into emergency mode” to tackle “a 5-alarm global fire” of the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a “morally bankrupt” global financial system, the climate crisis, lawlessness in cyberspace, and diminishing peace and security. Outlining his priorities for 2022 as he begins his second five-year term, Guterres said that “all these challenges are, at heart, failures of global governance.”

As the world is far off-track on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Guterres urged all governments to strengthen their climate action plans under the Paris Agreement, “until they collectively deliver the 45 per cent emissions reduction target.” This means “no new coal plants. No expansion in oil and gas exploration,” he said.

January 21, 2022 – Secretary-General’s remarks to the General Assembly on his Priorities for 2022

Excerpts: First, we must go into emergency mode in the COVID-19 battle.

Omicron is yet another warning.  The next variant may be worse. Stopping the spread anywhere must be at the top of the agenda everywhere.

In 2022, I will continue pushing for these fundamental reforms, and use the convening power of the United Nations to boost investment in the SDGs.

We must rescue the Agenda 2030 and I count on your support. The first three crises I have laid out –COVID-19, a morally bankrupt financial system, and the climate crisis – represent a triple emergency for developing countries and a triple multiplier of global inequalities. …

They undermine human rights and are a powder keg for social unrest and instability. …

In each, better global governance is sorely needed to restore fairness, rescue the Sustainable Development Goals, and live up to our commitment to uphold the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. …

Meanwhile, the climate crisis is fueling conflict and escalating humanitarian crises. …

At the same time, every country must strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions until they collectively deliver the 45 per cent emissions reduction needed by 2030.

No new coal plants.

No expansion in oil and gas exploration.

Now is the time for an unprecedented investment surge in renewable energy infrastructure, tripling to $5 trillion dollars annually by 2030.

This is particularly urgent in emerging and developing economies.

A strong reliance on renewable energy is crucial to avoiding the present fluctuation in fossil fuel prices.

Every sector and every industry, including shipping and aviation, must be on a trajectory to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Wealthier countries must finally make good on the $100 billion climate finance commitment to developing countries, starting in 2022.

Developing countries cannot wait any longer.

And we need a radical boost for adaptation

The Glasgow commitment to double adaptation finance — from $20 billion — is an urgent priority and a good first step, but we would still be far behind.

Access and eligibility systems must be reviewed to allow developing countries – to get the finance they need on time.

COP-27 in Egypt and the upcoming conferences focusing on biodiversity and oceans will also be important opportunities to protect our planet and all species.

The effort required is extraordinary, but so too are the possibilities for bold action when people work together.

We can draw inspiration from those with the greatest stakes in the future — young people.

As with so many other issues, young people are on the frontlines in pushing for progress. Let’s answer their calls with action.



Flashback: UN Picks former president of Socialist International As New Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres)

UN chief calls for action to put out ‘5-alarm global fire’