Guterres urges bringing a UN anchored in 1945 to a multipolar world or "there will only be a rupture"

The Portuguese António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations (UN), intoned the month of guilt in the opening speech of the 78th General Assembly.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
18 September 2023 Monday 22:28
2 Reads
Guterres urges bringing a UN anchored in 1945 to a multipolar world or "there will only be a rupture"

The Portuguese António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations (UN), intoned the month of guilt in the opening speech of the 78th General Assembly. The UN does not work when it comes to resolving conflicts, as is now certified in Ukraine and before in other territories.

“The world has changed, our institutions have not,” he appealed to demand a thorough review of the mechanisms and representation in the Security Council (SC), the executive body of the UN, which remains anchored in the world of the two blocs, the capitalist versus the communist, in an increasingly diverse, “multipolar” planet he said. The so-called global south, the developing nations, also exists and must have a voice, a deficit that with the focus on the war in Ukraine has only burst onto the world stage.

Perhaps it would be better to say that Guterres put the ball in the court of the five great permanent powers with the right to veto (the capitalist United States, France and the United Kingdom and the "communist" Russia and China), which are the ones that actually They pull the strings of the obsolete and inefficient CS. Either a reform is carried out and more countries are given voice and power or “there will only be a rupture,” he proclaimed on the great stage of diplomacy or, also, the market of words, which is what the Secretary General denounced in a hidden way. .

His cry of condemnation and help occurred in an Assembly in which the absences exemplified contempt for the institution. Only US President Joe Biden participates on this occasion, as if he were the only leader who is concerned about the future of the institution, while the top leaders of China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, the other four permanent and with the capacity to veto, they preferred to stay home. Which is the message?

After illustrating that in the same Mediterranean where Libyans drown, rich millionaires sunbathe on their expensive yachts, the Secretary General warned that “our world is unhinged, geopolitical tension is on the rise, global challenges are growing and we are incapable of addressing a joint response.” For him, “we face a series of threats, from the climate crisis to disruptive technologies and this is happening at a time of chaotic transition.”

He recalled that during the Cold War, international relations were dominated by the prism of two superpowers and that later, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a short period of “unipolarity,” according to his expression.

“We are now moving rapidly to a multipolar world. This, in many ways, is positive. It brings new opportunities for justice and balance in international relations,” she stressed.

“But multipolarity by itself does not guarantee peace,” he insisted. Guterrres recalled that Europe had numerous powers at the beginning of the 20th century, although it lacked a robust multilateral institution and the result was the First World War.

“A multipolar world needs strong and effective multilateral institutions. However, global governance is stuck in time, you only have to look at the UN Security Council,” he said.

He indicated that the CS “reflects the political reality of 1945, when many countries present in this room were still under colonial domination,” he stated. “The world has changed, we have not. We will not be able to effectively address the problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is,” she stressed.

“Instead of solving the problems, risk is part of the problem and, in reality, divisions are deepening, divisions between economies and military powers, divisions between north and south, east and west,” he continued.

“We are hurtling toward a major fracture in economic and financial systems and trade relationships, one that threatens a single, open internet, with divergent strategies in technology and artificial intelligence, and potentially conflicting security frameworks,” he explained.

“Institutions must be renewed based on the political and economic realities of the 21st century, rooted in equity, solidarity and universality, anchored in the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law,” he prescribed.

“This means reforming the Security Council in tune with today's world, redesigning the international financial architecture so that it is universal and serves as a global safety net for developing and struggling countries,” he reiterated.

The United States, with Biden, appeals for this reform, to open the SC to other countries on a permanent basis like the current five (several names are being considered such as Brazil, India, South Africa, Japan, Germany), but avoids a key issue. USA. Are you willing to lose the right to veto, the true burden on the Council, which prevents effective decisions from being made? This is the question, no matter how much there is talk of expanding permanent and temporary members (today there are 15 in total). Guterres is more than aware of this situation and expressed it in alarmingly clear terms in his speech.

“I have no illusions. Reforms are about power. I know there are many competing interests and agendas. But the alternative to reform is not the status quo. The alternative to reform is greater fragmentation. This is reform or breakup. Divisions are widening between countries, democracy is under threat, authoritarianism is increasing, inequalities are growing and hate speech is on the rise,” he warned.

“In the face of all these challenges, commitment has become a dirty word. Our world needs statesmanship, not gamesmanship and stagnation. “This is the moment for global commitment.”

There was applause, yes, but like on other occasions. His tone was one of maximum danger regarding the political, climatological future ("there are leaders who still do not feel the heat") and technology. Is anyone really listening?