KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations chief says the world is moving in the wrong direction, lamenting inequalities in the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Large majorities in the rich world had already been vaccinated but more than 90 percent of Africans were still waiting for their first dose, António Guterres said.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, he painted a stark picture of unsustainable inequalities, runaway climate change and feckless leadership.
Concerned at challenges on several fronts, the secretary-general said: “I’m here to sound the alarm. The world must wake up.”
The Guardian quoted him as saying: “This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity.”
With regard to disparities in wealth distribution, the UN chief noted while billionaires joyrode into space, millions went hungry.
About the climate emergency, he said if all coal power stations planned around the globe jerked into operation, the planet’s average temperature would rise by well over 2C.
It would be impossible to address the dramatic economic and development challenges, while the world’s two largest economies continued to bicker, the UN chief believed.
He felt the world was moving towards two different sets of economic trade, financial and technological rules, in the development of artificial intelligence and the risk of different military and geopolitical strategies.
“This is a recipe for trouble. It will be far less predictable than the cold war. To restore trust and inspire hope, we need cooperation, dialogue and understanding.”
The secretary called for greater action in areas such as climate policy, gender equality and closing the gap between rich and poor.
He highlighted the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency and upheaval in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Yemen.
Additionally, he added, people were at risk of losing faith not only in their governments, but in UN values such as peace, human rights, dignity for all, equality, justice and solidarity.
He urged member states to shift to the green economy through steps such as taxing carbon, ending subsidies to fossil fuels and committing to no new coal power plants.