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Here are what your leaders had to say at the UN General Debate 2022

Photo by the UN-aligned design team.

Summaries and transcripts are available on the General Debate pages

10 Antonio Guterres@0.5x edited

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General:

We have a duty to act. And yet we are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction. The international community is not ready or willing to tackle the big dramatic challenges of our age. These crises threaten the very future of humanity and the fate of our planet. Crises like the war in Ukraine and the multiplication of conflicts around the globe. Crises like the climate emergency and biodiversity loss…

There is another battle we must end – our suicidal war against nature. The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time. It must be the first priority of every government and multilateral organisation. And yet climate action is being put on the back burner – despite overwhelming public support around the world.

Csaba Korosi 2

Csaba Kőrösi, President of the General Assembly

Who would have imagined that war would return to Europe? That the nuclear threat would be back in political discourse to settle a dispute with a neighbour? It has been 203 days since the General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the military aggression against Ukraine. Unfortunately, the bloodshed and the suffering have not stopped yet.

Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of Brazil

A reform of the UN is essential if we are to find world peace. In the specific case of the Security Council, after 25 years of debates, it is clear that we need to look for innovative solutions.

Macky Sall

Macky Sall, President of Senegal and of Chairperson of the African Union

Terrorism, which is gaining ground on the continent, is not just an African matter. It is a global threat that falls under the primary responsibility of the Council, as guarantor of the collective security mechanism, under the Charter of our Organisation. We therefore urge the Council to engage more with us in the fight against terrorism in Africa, with more appropriate mandates and more substantial resources…

I will recall that today more than 600 million Africans still live without electricity. Let us also work towards the goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year to support developing countries’ adaptation efforts and to finance the African Adaptation Acceleration Program under the auspices of the AfDB and the Global Centre for Adaptation.

Gabriel Boric Font

Gabriel Boric Font, President of Chile

We live in a time of uncertainties and surprises, in which it is clear that there are no isolated nations immune to what is happening on a global level; and Chile is no exception. Thus, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine – a people to whom we express our solidarity and respect – pushed up the price of fuel and caused shortage of grains and fertilisers, causing a strong impact on our economy. In turn, both the trade war between the United States and China unleashed in 2018, like the pandemic, destabilised the global economy, also affecting ours.

Abdullah Ii Ibn Al Hussein, King of Jordan

A founding UN principle is the right to self-determination for all peoples. The Palestinian people, with their resilient national identity, cannot be denied this right. And the road forward is the two-state solution, in accordance with UN resolutions—a sovereign, viable, and independent Palestinian state, on the 4th of June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side with Israel in peace, security, and prosperity.

Gustavo Petro Urrego

Gustavo Petro Urrego, President of Colombia

 By hiding the truth, they will see the jungle and democracies die. The war on drugs has failed. The fight against the climate crisis has failed…

Why war if what we need is to save the human species? For what use is NATO and empires, if what is coming is the end of intelligence? The climate disaster will kill hundreds of millions of people and listen well, it is not produced by the planet, it is produced by capital.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Türkiye

 It is imperative that we restructure the United Nations as an organisation worthy of its inclusive character, capable of producing solutions for a fairer world order, and in which a common will is displayed on behalf of the entire humanity. In particular, enabling the Security Council with a more effective, democratic, transparent and accountable structure and functioning will be an important milestone in the pursuit of peace, justice and welfare of the entire humanity. To keep reminding us of our common duty towards that end, we will continue to underline that “THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN FIVE” and “A FAIRER WORLD IS POSSIBLE”, on every platform, and in the strongest terms possible.

Sadyr Zhaparov, President of Kyrgyzstan

 Perhaps the founding states of the UN, who signed the international agreement to establish the organisation in San Francisco in 1945, naively believed that wars, destruction, hunger, and suffering would end forever? I don’t think so. Success can always be achieved if there is a mutual understanding that disputes and disagreements must be resolved in a spirit of good faith and compromise.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan

The long-standing international system – based on order and responsibility is giving way to a new, more chaotic and unpredictable one. The global system of checks and balances has failed to maintain peace and stability. The security architecture is eroding. Mutual distrust between global powers is dangerously deepening. The world is falling prey to a new set of military conflicts. For the first time in two generations, we face the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons, and not even as a last resort. New fault lines are creating artificial barriers and economic isolation…

There is nothing more important now than to return to the foundational principles that lie at the root of this universal organisation. In particular, we must rethink the linkages between three primordial principles: the sovereign equality of states, the territorial integrity of states, and peaceful coexistence between states.

Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

Our world has become a global village in which our concerns and our issues intertwine. With that our world has changed at a rapid pace in terms of the spread of the effects at the global level of any environmental event, economic crisis or military confrontation, but our approaches and methods have not developed at the same pace to keep up with these revolutionary changes…

And here we stand today, resolutely on the cusp of hosting the world teams and their fans, and we open our doors in Doha for them, enthusiastic and without discrimination, to enjoy football and the atmosphere of the tournament, full of happiness.

Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea is pushing forward with its plan to transform the government into a digital platform government. It is an ambitious initiative to remarkably upgrade our democracy, public service, and welfare through digital technology. We will continue to more widely share our advanced digital technology and data, and spare no effort in providing support and in investing in education.

Mario Abdo Benítez

Mario Abdo Benítez, President of Paraguay

We must bring stability to the world with a common voice. We cannot turn away from what happens in other territories and leave sister nations to their fate…

The current difficult situation requires us to jointly address global problems, without exclusions. Therefore, my country emphatically reiterates the support for the request of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to be an integral part of the United Nations system

Sauli Niinistö

Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland

Russia’s cruel and unprovoked war on Ukraine has now been raging for seven months. It has brought immense sorrow and destruction to the sovereign lands of Ukraine. Russia’s use of force is in blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations. It is an act of aggression, as determined by this very Assembly…

The alarming loss of the variety of life on our planet should also be a cause for grave concern to all of us. We are on the brink of mass extinction, or perhaps already there. Again, we need to change course. Urgently…

The number of conflicts in the world is the highest since the Second World War. One quarter of humanity lives in conflict-affected countries. We must not ignore or forget Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen and other countries where human rights or the conditions for living a decent life are under threat.

Ignazio Cassis, President of Switzerland

I was shocked by the military aggression launched by Russia, a great power, against its neighbour Ukraine. Allow me to clarify that this military aggression violates the most basic principles of the Charter, the very one that was adopted after the Second World War world with the aim of preventing wars and the immeasurable suffering they cause.

Zuzana Čaputová

Zuzana Čaputová, President of Slovakia

Each and every member of the UN has a responsibility to protect peace. In this, the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council have a special duty. Instead, today, we see one of the five Permanent Members openly denying the right of another UN member, Ukraine, to exist as an independent state. Those who break the rules themselves have no authority to set rules for others, through their power of veto…

Russia has occupied parts of Georgia since 2008 and parts of Ukraine since 2014. Our response to these actions was incomplete. Concerns about our own comfort weakened our resolve. The tepid sanctions we imposed failed to discourage Russia from trying again. Our weakness encouraged more aggression. We must not repeat the same mistake again. The ignorance of rules is poisoning global security, and it must not be allowed to stand.

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, President of France

Those who are silent today serve in spite of themselves, or secretly with a certain complicity, the cause of a new imperialism, of a contemporary cynicism that disintegrates our international order without which peace is not possible…

Which of you might consider that the silence of the region and the world would be the best answer that day when something similar may be done to you by a more powerful neighbour? Who can support him? Who can believe that it would be enough for Russia to win this war for us to move on?

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The Gordian

Dismantling the war machine

Welcome to the September issue of The Gordian.

In this issue we are focussing on war. I was going to add “and the futility of it”, but ‘futility’ is far from the right word. No, war is not futile. It too is a nail, and allowed to be, it may well be the last nail in our collective coffin.

This issue offers the usual mix of politics, interviews and culture by UN-aligneders across the world, including Ruby Goldenberg, Carla Pietrobattista, Katharina Wüstnienhaus, Victoria Davila, Partho Chatterjee and Nick Hautamaki, Usha Roopnarain and Omar Alansari-Kreger

The editors are Adrian Liberto and Ariana Yekrangi.

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