Sunday, 17 January 2021

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Guterres: “An Ideological battle Is taking place”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, January 2019 press conference

16 January 2019. UN Secretary-General António Guterres today said that it is necessary to address the root causes of peoples´ fears in a rapidly changing world. 

In a speech to the General Assembly presenting the global outlook for 2019, Mr. Guterres said the “values of the United Nations Charter are under attack around the globe”.

“An ideological battle is taking place. And most disturbingly we hear the troubling hateful echoes of eras long past and noxious views moving into the mainstream. Let´s not forget the lessons of the 1930s. There can never be room for hate-speech, intolerance or xenophobia. We will fight it anytime, anywhere,” the Secretary-General said.

This, however, Mr. Guterres added, is not enough.

“We must do more, we must go deeper.  For the values that we defend to truly prevail we need to show that we understand peoples´ anxieties, fears and concerns. We need to address the root causes that lead people to feel marooned in our rapidly changing world.”

Expressing his conviction that the world could move with confidence towards the green economy and the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution, he added that its disruptions of labour markets had to be addressed.

“I am equally certain that at the same time we must invest in social cohesion, in education and new skills for people to adapt and safety nets to better protect those that risk being left behind. Never forgetting the coal miner, the assembly line worker and all those across the world, destitute or caught up in crisis, who are afraid of being left behind.”

Mr. Guterres called for a new campaign of values “ for the human rights and human dignity that we hold dear and that must be made real in the lives of all.”

The Secretary-General said that alarm bells were still ringing because of the threat of climate change. He pointed out that last week it was reported that the oceans were warming 40% faster than previously thought.

He urged UN Member States to present new solutions to the Summit he has called on climate change at the General Assembly in September.

“I urge you all to make September 19 a defining moment for stopping runaway climate change, achieving sustainable development goals and building a fair globalization.”


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