Global unity key to address world’s challenges

United Nations’ Secretary‑General António Guterres has said the world has to unite if it is to deliver rays of hope in a world which remains in crisis.

Delivering his message for the year ahead he warned that the world was emerging from a year which has tested the planet and the population like few before it.

“2020 has been a year of trials, tragedies and tears,” said Mr Guterres. “COVID-19 upended our lives and plunged the world into suffering and grief.  So many loved ones have been lost — and the pandemic rages on, creating new waves of sickness and death.  Poverty, inequality and hunger are rising. Jobs are disappearing and debts are mounting.  Children are struggling.  Violence in the home is increasing, and insecurity is everywhere.”

However, he added: “But, a new year lies ahead. And with it, we see rays of hope:  people extending a helping hand to neighbours and strangers; front-line workers giving their all; scientists developing vaccines in record time; countries making new commitments to prevent climate catastrophe.  If we work together in unity and solidarity, these rays of hope can reach around the world.  That’s the lesson of this most difficult year.

“Both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are crises that can only be addressed by everyone together — as part of a transition to an inclusive and sustainable future.  The central ambition of the United Nations for 2021 is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality — net‑zero emissions — by 2050.  Every government, city, business and individual can play a part in achieving this vision.”

Mr Guterres concluded with a call for the world to look to driving recovery across a range of issues which if left unchecked will impact all areas of the globe.

“Together, let’s make peace among ourselves and with nature, tackle the climate crisis, stop the spread of COVID-19 and make 2021 a year of healing,” he explained.  “Healing from the impact of a deadly virus.  Healing broken economies and societies.  Healing divisions.  And starting to heal the planet.”