Deep global divisions and conflicts must end to clear a path to tackling world’s two existential threats: climate change and the negative impacts of the artificial intelligence (AI) boom, UN chief António Guterres told the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Astana on Thursday. “The central goal of our multilateral system must be peace – a pre-condition for sustainable development and the enjoyment of human rights,” he told Heads of States attending the world’s largest regional organisation meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital. António Guterres listed multiple conflicts where ceasefire and lasting peace are needed, from the Middle East to Ukraine and from Sudan to the Sahel, in addition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Myanmar and Haiti.

“We need peace in Afghanistan and an inclusive government that respects human rights and is integrated into the international community. All countries should unite to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a hotbed of terrorism,” he told the Council of the SCO, the world’s largest regional security body that includes Belarus, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. With such wide representation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has the power and the responsibility to push for peace, the chief of the universal organisation insisted.

The UN Secretary-General underscored that the meeting in Astana was happening amid raging wars, geopolitical divides, “an epidemic of impunity” and backsliding on sustainable development – a key global goal – causing cynicism and a crisis of trust. “These global challenges cannot be solved on a country-by-country basis. This is the moment to reaffirm our common commitment to multilateralism, with the United Nations at its centre, bound by the principles set out in the UN Charter, international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the UN chief said, cautioning that people are losing faith in multilateralism, as they point to broken promises, double standards and growing inequalities. The UN Secretary-General also highlighted the urgent need for collective action on two looming existential threats: the climate emergency and the unchecked rise of digital technologies, particularly AI.

UN climate experts have confirmed that although 2023 was the hottest year on record, it could soon be seen as one of the coolest years in a rapidly warming future. The Secretary-General warned that the devastating impacts of our changing climate are already evident in the melting glaciers, deadly floods, storms, droughts, and extreme heat waves that are battering countries worldwide.

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Source: The UN

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