UN chief brushes off key leaders absence, says delivery ‘paramount’

Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 18th Sept. UN head António Guterres on Sunday has said that he cares less about who comes to New York and more about what gets done, especially to revive the Sustainable Development Goals as several high-profile world leaders opt out of the UNGA session next week. 

He said “This is not a Vanity Fair. This is a political body in which governments are represented.”

“What matters is that countries are represented by someone that can rise to the present moment,” he said.

He added: “So I’m not so worried about who’s coming. What I’m worried [about] is making sure the countries that are here are ready to assume the commitments necessary to make the Sustainable Development Goals that unfortunately are not moving in the right direction a reality.”

Mr. Guterres emphasized the need to reform the current “unjust, dysfunctional and outdated” global finance system to ensure the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.

He recalled his $500 billion SDG Stimulus proposal to support developing nations to make sure they have the resources they need to achieve the SDGs.”

SG said that his 2023 Climate Ambition Summit will provide an opportunity for countries, businesses, and civil society to step up their efforts to reign in runaway climate change.

He reiterated that in a notable departure from standard practice where countries are front and centre, this Summit will give a platform to what he referred to as “frontliners”, those that are the most committed to climate action, and can share the best practices.

“We are moving to 2.6-2.8°C of global temperature rise by the end of the century,” he warned.

He stressed the urgency of returning to the goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Mr. Guterres emphasized “It is still possible with political will but a lot needs to be done,” Mr. Guterres emphasized.

On the Ukraine war, he reiterated that the central objective is to secure peace, which is just and in line with the UN Charter and international law.

He cautioned against undue optimism, acknowledging that current conditions may not favour a “serious dialogue” on peace.

“I think the parties are far from that possibility at the present moment, but we will never, never stop our efforts to make sure that peace comes to Ukraine,” he stressed.

Mr. Guterres spoke about the unprecedented three ministerial-level talks next week on global public health: pandemic preparedness, universal health coverage, and tuberculosis.

“Universal health coverage is an essential objective of the UN,” he said.

He added that “it requires not only the UN system to work, but also requires financial systems to be much fairer than they are today.

Mr. Guterres stressed that “one of the things that I believe is essential is to increase the resources and the power of the World Health Organization.”

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