UN Chief Unveils Global Priorities for the Year Ahead
08 February 2024
UN Secretary-General has outlined the annual priorities for the organization.
Addressing the General Assembly, António Guterres outlined priority areas for action, emphasizing the UN's foundation on peace.
He stressed, "Peace is our raison d’être," lamenting its absence amidst global challenges. Guterres highlighted peace as essential in addressing conflicts, environmental issues, disinformation, and hate speech.
He underscored peace as the solution to interconnected crises and urged collective action towards shared goals, offering hope despite turbulent times.
Answering people’s calls, from Gaza to Ukraine
The UN Chief highlighted the impact of crises worldwide, from terrorism in the Sahel to conflicts in Gaza, Sudan, Ukraine, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He described life for millions in conflict zones as a "deadly, daily, hungry hell." Urging global peace efforts, he specifically addressed the Gaza crisis as a "festering wound on our collective conscience."
He called for a humanitarian ceasefire, condemning attacks by Hamas and other militant groups, and emphasized the need for a two-State solution.
‘An age of chaos’
Mr. Guterres emphasized that if all nations honored their commitments under the UN Charter, everyone's right to peace and dignity would be ensured.
However, he noted governments' disregard for and undermining of multilateral principles without facing consequences.
He pointed to a "deadlocked" Security Council, describing the current dysfunction as deeper and more dangerous, signaling an era of chaos.
"We are witnessing the results: a dangerous and unpredictable free-for-all with total impunity," he warned, citing risks from stealthier nuclear weapons to new conflict zones and weaponry.
New Agenda for Peace
The UN chief stressed enhancing global peace and security frameworks, including Security Council reform and renewed commitment to nuclear disarmament.
He highlighted the New Agenda for Peace, emphasizing intensified conflict prevention and measures to mitigate the impact of geopolitical competition.
Combating hate speech
The UN chief expressed concern about the global rise in hate speech, discrimination, extremism, and human rights abuses.
He urged a renewed social contract anchored in human rights, including his Call to Action for Human Rights and a forthcoming code of conduct for information integrity.
Addressing the impact of new technologies, he highlighted the work of the Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence, emphasizing the Organization's role in convening governments, private companies, academia, and civil society.
Building a sustainable future
Mr. Guterres emphasized the peace-sustainable development link, stressing SDGs' vital role in global prosperity.
To meet SDGs, he urged action in two areas: providing a $500 billion annual SDG Stimulus for developing countries and reforming the international financial system.
He also stressed that the climate crisis remains the world’s most pressing challenge.
He also highlighted tackling the climate crisis by tripling global renewable energy capacity, doubling energy efficiency by 2030, and exploring innovative climate finance sources.
‘Wars destroy; peace builds’
The Secretary-General stressed that peace, humanity's paramount pursuit, achieves what wars never can.
“Wars destroy; peace builds,” he emphasized, underscoring that in today’s troubled world, “building peace is a conscious, bold, and radical act.”
He urged a collective commitment to this imperative for present and future generations, reaffirming his unwavering dedication to advancing peace.