UN Chief speaks on Ukraine, Artificial Intelligence, Climate Summit, #UNGA & more
18 September 2023
Ahead of the high-level week of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78), the UN chief António Guterres said, “we will never stop our efforts to make sure that peace comes to Ukraine - a just peace in line with the UN Charter and in line with international law.”
In an interview today (16 Sep) in New York, Guterres reiterated that the war in Ukraine is “a major factor of increasing geopolitical tensions and the increase of geopolitical tensions is a major reason for us not to be able to address effectively the challenges at the present times.”
The Secretary-General further explained by taking examples of climate change and the risks of disruptions caused by new technologies that lack an effective global governance system.
“Artificial Intelligence is a case in point. It can bring enormous benefits to human but it can be a source of risks that needs to be mitigated,” Guterres said, adding that “unfortunately, at the present moment, the world is not united facing these challenges.”
He reiterated that it is important to end the war in Ukraine as it is one of the factors that is “undermining the capacity of the world to come together.”
On making achieving Sustainable Development Goals a reality, Guterres said that the injust and outdated international financial system needs to be reformed. Secondly, the proposal of an SDG Stimulus, which is necessary to make sure that developing countries will have the resources to achieve the Goals.
“Africa today spends more money servicing the debt than in education. So this shows how much we need to transform an unfair international global system to make sure that the Sustainable Development Goals become a reality,” the UN chief said.
On the upcoming Climate Ambition Summit, Guterres said, “we are asking countries and we are asking companies and we are asking civil society and others, to come and to present their engagement with new projects, with new commitments, able to reverse the present trend in which climate change is out of control as we know.”
On the High-level meeting on universal health coverage, the UN chief said, “Universal health coverage is an essential objective of the UN.”
He added that “it requires not only the UN system to work, it requires also financial systems to be much more fair than what they are today. And there are central questions to be addressed in relation to intellectual property, in the way the pharmaceutical industry operates.”
Guterres reiterated, “one of the things that I believe is essential is increase the resources and the power of the World Health Organization.”
The General Debate will begin on Tuesday, 19 September, continue through Saturday, 23 September, and conclude on Tuesday, 26 September 2023.
World leaders will gather to engage in the annual high-level General Debate under the theme, “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.” Heads of State and Government and ministers explore solutions to the intertwined global challenges to advance peace, security, and sustainable development.