Guterres on a Global Tour… United Nations Messages on the World Stage

From Nairobi, passing through Jakarta to New Delhi, then returning briefly to New York before heading to Havana, a globe-trotting tour for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, during which he brings United Nations messages to the world’s leaders.

A journey around the world begins with the Secretary-General attending four key meetings before the largest meeting ever – the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, which starts on September 18th of this year.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres first heads to Nairobi on Saturday to attend the African Climate Summit from September 4th to 5th, then to Jakarta to attend the United Nations summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), composed of 10 countries, known as ASEAN, from September 6th to 7th.

Guterres then travels from there to New Delhi to attend the G20 Summit, which includes the world’s largest economies, from September 8th to 10th. He returns briefly to New York before heading to Havana to attend the Group of 77 summit, an alliance of around 134 developing nations and China’s government, from September 14th to 15th.

The Secretary-General is expected to return to New York just before the start of the High-Level Week of the General Assembly, where the war in Ukraine is expected to dominate discussions for the second year in a row.

A large number of heads of states and governments (almost 150) are expected to attend the world leaders’ meeting this year.

Fred Kojani, Albania’s ambassador to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for this month, told reporters on Friday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will personally attend the global gathering for the first time and will speak at a council meeting in September about supporting the United Nations Charter in Ukraine.

UN Concerns

The high-level week begins with a summit to energize global action on the severely delayed United Nations 2030 development goals on September 18th, just one day before the official opening of the General Debate – the formal name for the annual gathering of world leaders.

The meeting on September 19th starts with Secretary-General Guterres’ annual report on the state of the world, and in his Thursday briefing with journalists, he offered a preview of his concerns.

The Secretary-General stated that the “multiplicity of summits reflects the growing multipolarity in our world,” but he emphasized that the presence of different power centers “does not guarantee peace and security,” but rather, in the absence of strong global institutions, “multipolarity can be a factor in escalating geostrategic tensions with disastrous consequences.”

Guterres said he would deliver the same message at all the meetings he attends this month: that reforms are necessary “to make our institutions and our multilateral frameworks fit for the economic and political realities of today’s world, based on equality and solidarity.”

United Nations Messages

At the African Climate Summit, the Secretary-General of the United Nations stated that he would address “two glaring injustices resulting from the climate crisis”: first, that African countries have contributed almost nothing to the phenomenon of global warming, “yet they are on the frontlines of severe storms, droughts, and floods today.”

The second issue is that while Africa has abundant solar, wind, hydropower, and important mineral resources, its governments face high levels of debt and interest rates that hinder investments in renewable energy, according to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, adding, “We need global efforts to put Africa at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution.”

At the ASEAN summit in Jakarta, Guterres said he would work to promote the organization as a bridge-building tool between the East and the West, in addition to its five-point plan and efforts to engage all parties in the Myanmar conflict that ignited on February 1, 2021.

At the G20 Summit in New Delhi, the Secretary-General said he would tell the largest greenhouse gas emitters on Earth that “as climate chaos intensifies, the world is looking to them” to accelerate emissions reductions and support countries that are now paying the price for decades of reliance on fossil fuels.

At the concluding summit of the Group of 77 in Havana, Guterres said he would focus on recommitting to the United Nations 2030 development goals, including ending extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring every child receives a good secondary education, and achieving gender equality.

With regard to the annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations, Guterres emphasized that he would underscore the importance of diplomacy “to navigate the tensions in our multipolar, emerging world,” adding, “Dialogue remains the only way to find common approaches and common solutions to the global threats and challenges we face.”

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