UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The particular world’s problems seized the spotlight Tuesday as the particular U. N. General Assembly’s yearly meeting of world leaders opened with dire assessments of a planet beset by escalating crises and conflicts that an aging international order seems increasingly ill-equipped to tackle.
After two years when many leaders weighed in by video because of the coronavirus pandemic, now presidents, premiers, monarchs and foreign ministers have gathered almost entirely in person for diplomacy’s premier global event.
But the tone is far from celebratory. Instead, it’s the blare of the tense and worried world.
“We are gridlocked within colossal global dysfunction, ” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, adding that “our world is in peril — plus paralyzed. ”
He and others pointed to conflicts ranging from Russia’s six-month-old war in Ukraine to the decades-long dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Speakers worried about a changing climate, spiking fuel prices, food shortages, economic inequality, migration, disinformation, discrimination, hate speech, public health and more.
Priorities varied, as did prescriptions for curing the humanity’s ills. But within a forum dedicated to the particular idea of bringing the world together, many leaders sounded a common theme: The globe needs cooperation, dialogue and trust, now more than ever.
“We live in an era of uncertainty and shocks, ” Chilean President Gabriel Boric stated. “It is clear nowadays that no country, large or small, humble or powerful, can save itself on its own. ”
Or, as Guterres put it, “Let’s work as one, because a coalition of the particular world, as united nations. ”
It’s rarely that easy. As Guterres himself noted, geopolitical divisions are undermining the work of the U. N. Security Council, international law, people’s trust in democratic institutions, and most forms of worldwide cooperation.
“The divergence between developed and developing countries, between North and South, between the privileged and the rest, is becoming more dangerous simply by the day, ” the particular secretary-general said. “It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions plus lack of trust that poison every area associated with global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade. ”
While appeals to preserve large-scale international cooperation — or even multilateralism, in diplomatic parlance — abound, so do different ideas about the balance between working together and standing up for oneself, and about whether an “international order” set up after World War II needs reordering.
“We want a multilateralism that is open and respectful of our differences, ” Senegalese President Macky Sall said. He added that will the U. N. can win all countries’ support only “on the basis of shared ideals, plus not local values erected as universal norms. ”
After the particular pandemic forced an entirely virtual meeting in 2020 and a hybrid one last year, delegates reflecting the world’s countries and cultures are once again filling the halls of the United Nations headquarters this week. Before the meeting began, leaders and ministers wearing masks wandered the assembly hall, chatting individually and in groups.
It was a sign that despite the fragmented state of the international community, the Un remains the key gathering place for global leaders. Nearly 150 heads of state plus government have signed on to speak during the particular nearly weeklong “General Debate, ” a high number that illustrates the gathering’s distinction as a place to deliver their views and meet privately to discuss various challenges — and, they hope, make some progress.
Guterres made sure to start out by sounding a note of hope. He showed a photo associated with the first U. N. -chartered ship carrying grain from Ukraine — part of a deal among Ukraine and Russia that the U. N. and Turkey helped broker — to the Horn of Africa, where millions of people are on the edge of famine It is, he said, an example associated with promise “in a world teeming with turmoil. ”
Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine topped the agenda for many speakers.
The particular conflict has become the largest war in Europe since World War II and has opened fissures among major powers in a way not seen since the particular Cold War. It also has raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe at a large power plant in Ukraine’s now Russia-occupied southeast.
Meanwhile, the loss of important grain plus fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia has triggered a food crisis, especially in developing countries, and inflation and a rising cost of living within many nations.
As Jordan’s King Abdullah II noted, well-off countries that are having unfamiliar experiences of scarcity “are discovering a truth that people in developing countries have known with regard to a long time: For countries to thrive, affordable food must get in order to every family’s table. ”
Leaders in many countries are trying to prevent a wider war and restore peace in Europe. Diplomats, though, aren’t expecting any breakthroughs this week.
In an impassioned speech to the assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron said no country can stand upon the sidelines in the face of Russia’s aggression. He accused those who remain silent of being “in a way complicit with a new cause of imperialism” that is trampling on the current world order and is making serenity impossible.
Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova’s country has long depended on Russia for oil and gas. But Slovakia has provided military aid to neighbor Ukraine, she noted.
“We, the members from the U. N., need in order to clearly side with victim over aggressor, ” the girl said.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, protection associated with civilians and “the maintenance of all channels of dialogue between the parties. ” But he opposed what he called “one-sided or unilateral” Western sanctions, saying they have harmed economic recovery and possess threatened human rights associated with vulnerable populations.
Neither Ukraine nor Russia has yet had its turn to speak. The assembly has agreed to allow Ukrainian Chief executive Volodymyr Zelenskyy to talk by video, over objections from Russia and the few of its allies.
Zelenskyy’s speech is expected Wednesday, as is an in-person address from U. S. Leader Joe Biden. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be due to take the rostrum Saturday.
Edith M. Lederer, chief U. N. correspondent for The Associated Press, contributed to this report. For more AP coverage of the Oughout. N. General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly