Speaking to staff on his first day at UN headquarters on Tuesday, the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called for concerted efforts from all member states and UN staff to tackle growing global challenges, saying that he himself alone was not a miracle maker.
"We're facing very challenging times. We see everywhere in the world conflicts that multiply, that are interlinked, that also has triggered this new phenomenon of global terrorism."
Guterres reiterated in the address that the UN should work harder on both prevention of conflicts and conflict resolution, so as to bring together peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, which are, in his words, three aspects of the same reality.
With enormous economic and technological progress in the world, Guterres pointed out that inequality has also grown quite dramatically, despite the fact that there are less extreme poor in the world, and social welfare in general has on average improved a lot. Such inequality and exclusion, he feels, is something that more easily triggers revolt, anger and becomes a factor of instability and conflict in many situations around the world.
"When we look at the global mega trends or population growth to climate change and to other aspects that are interlinked, we see that we live in a world where the problems became global, and there is no way that they can be solved on a country-by-country basis. And so, this is the moment in which we need to assert the value of multilateralism, this is the moment that you need to recognize that only global solutions can address global problems, and that the UN is the cornerstone of that multilateral approach."
Guterres said that his belief in the United Nations is not shared by many people around the world, who have been skeptical about the UN's role in tackling global challenges and bringing forth a better world.
As such, Guterres said that all UN staff should be proud to recognize their achievements, to remember that many people have been rescued, many people have suffered less, and also many people have seen their living conditions improve because of the existence of the UN. On the other hand, however, the UN should also recognize its own shortcomings and failures, as well as situations in which the UN is not able to deliver support as it should.
Talking about solutions, Guterres said that reforms should be made from within the UN to cut red tape and improve efficiency of the UN's work.
Meanwhile, a lot of discussion and dialogue and mutual understanding between the UN and the member states will also be needed, to overcome many of the divides that still exist within the organization.
"I think it's useful to say that there are no miracles, and I'm sure I'm not a miracle maker. And the only way for us to be able to achieve our goal is really to work together as a team, and to be able to deserve to serve the noble values enshrined in the Charter. It had the values of the UN, it had the values that unites mankinds."
Before making the address to UN staff on Tuesday morning, Guterres attended a wreath-laying ceremony at UN headquarters in honor of all UN staff who have fallen in the line of duty.
For CRI, this is Qian Shanming from New York.