During the Non-Aligned Movement summit, Guterres reiterated his plea for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages.
Leaders from the group of 120 countries gathered amidst significant global division, such as increasing geopolitical tensions, a climate crisis, widespread poverty, and ongoing conflicts in Sudan, Ukraine, and Gaza.
Danger and constraints
“The Secretary-General expressed his condemnation of the heinous attacks by Hamas on 7 October, as well as the widespread devastation in Gaza and the high number of civilian casualties in such a short time, which are unparalleled during his term. He also acknowledged the impact on the UN, with 152 employees losing their lives.”
Even with their best efforts, aid workers are constantly being bombarded and facing daily risks in their attempts to provide assistance. This is due to the challenges of damaged infrastructure, communication disruptions, and being denied access.
He stated that the situation of disease and hunger is worsening.
According to him, individuals are not just perishing due to explosions and gunfire, but also due to inadequate access to food and safe water, hospitals without electricity and medication, and difficult travels to increasingly smaller regions in order to flee the conflict.
Prevent conflict spillover
“I will not back down in my demand for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire and the prompt and unconditional release of all hostages,” stated Mr. Guterres, urging an end to the situation.
“It is imperative that we take all necessary measures to avoid the escalation of this conflict into neighboring areas, including the West Bank, the Blue Line dividing Israel and Lebanon, as well as Syria, Iraq, and the Red Sea.”
He stated that rejecting the idea of two separate states for Israelis and Palestinians, as well as denying the Palestinian people’s right to their own state, is not tolerable.
He stated that this would continue the conflict for an indefinite period of time, which poses a significant danger to worldwide peace and stability. Additionally, it would worsen divisions and empower extremist groups worldwide.
During the Cold War, the NAM was founded as leaders of recently independent nations aimed to remain neutral and not align with either the United States or Soviet Union, the two dominant power blocs.
According to Mr. Guterres, the current state of the world, filled with uncertainty and instability, presents a chance for both nations and the organization to take the lead in promoting greater collaboration and shared prosperity. This was the focus of the summit.
The speaker emphasized the importance of peace in determining global prosperity. They highlighted the necessity for institutions that are relevant to the present time. Specifically, they mentioned the need to improve organizations like the UN Security Council, which is hindered by political disagreements that hinder the implementation of effective resolutions.
Remembering that the NAM has consistently brought attention to this issue, he stated that the upcoming UN Summit in September presents a special chance to discuss reforms and advocate for initiatives that can restore trust and enhance cooperation among multiple parties.
Countries are regressing in their efforts to achieve sustainable development, which is also crucial for promoting peace. Many individuals are experiencing hunger and communities do not have adequate access to essential resources like healthcare, clean water, proper sanitation, and education.
Mr. Guterres repeated his call for reforming the “outdated, unjust and unfair global financial system” so that all countries benefit, and urged governments to invest in education, health, nutrition and social protection systems.
In September of last year, leaders from around the world gathered at the UN to show their backing for a $500 billion yearly stimulus plan aimed at promoting sustainable development. They also voiced their support for reforming the global financial system, as suggested by the leader.
During the COP28 meeting, held two months after, the Loss and Damage Fund was put into action to aid countries that are at high risk of being affected by climate change. Unfortunately, the amount of contributions has been restricted and developed nations have yet to fulfill their previous promises regarding climate finance, as per his statement.
The Secretary-General called upon the NAM to hold their leaders accountable for fulfilling these promises in the current year.