International leaders are gathering for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and many expressed grave concerns over the condition of the world.
Issues ranging from soaring costs around the globe to the aftermath of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine weigh heavily on the minds of world leaders this week.
None raised the alarm of planetary peril more loudly than Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He flatly declared that the world is “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction…our world is in peril…and paralyzed.”
Guterres decried the spread between developed and developing nations as “becoming more dangerous by the day.” This is, in his view, the base cause of tensions around the globe and the accompanying lack of trust.
This distrust, he said, “poison(s) every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade.”
UN Secretary-General Guterres says that the world is in “great peril” as leaders gather in New York for the UN General Assembly. https://t.co/J8piquc4GY
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 20, 2022
The secretary-general spent time focusing on climate change and a planet that he said “is literally on fire.” He also touched on the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and how there is a lack of resources for developing countries to make significant strides.
Guterres said the pandemic worsened already challenging issues in education, health, and women’s rights internationally.
There were nearly 150 heads of state scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly this week, and much of the talk will be on the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting comes even as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday a partial call-up of reservists for the Ukraine war. Many analysts see this as a move fraught with risk, but several setbacks in the military operation may have forced his hand.
This marks the first call-up of Russian forces since World War Two. There are reports that some of his countrymen are scrambling to get flights out of the country as well as sporadic protests erupting.
The General Assembly will no doubt be a lively place in the coming days, and many leaders will take controversial positions on the current global situation. The European energy crisis and solidarity behind Russian sanctions will undoubtedly also take the forefront in New York City.