World urged to unite to fight global threats

The outgoing president of the United Nation’s General Assembly has warned the world has to come together to fight current and future threats.

Csaba Kőrösi (pic) urged the organisation’s member states to focus on international cooperation, despite geopolitical conflicts, and seek to forge future-proof integrated solutions to global challenges.

“Despite geopolitical rivalries, our survival depends on our cooperation,” he said, highlighting that the 2023 UN Water Conference demonstrated that it is possible to overcome long-standing divides.

Kőrösi warned that “we are in a race against time” on issues from climate change and biodiversity loss to education and gender equality, he called on nations to “put money where our promises are” — supporting sustainable development with appropriate regulations, financing, capacity-building and verification.

“Multilateralism is our only option to tackle the many crises of the world,” he emphasised.  He added that the war in Ukraine — along with 51 other armed conflicts — must end, hand reiterated the call to end nuclear proliferation and nuclear armament. He noted that December will mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and that a year ago, the Assembly adopted a historic resolution declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right.

While “we are only starting to understand and unpack what rights and responsibilities will mean in the next stage of our Anthropocene era,” he explained that “young people will hold us accountable for our inactions”. The multilateral system demands cooperation on a global scale, he continued, from addressing climate change and cybercrime to respecting human rights online and the use of artificial intelligence.

Citing the upcoming 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit, he urged countries to bring the sustainability transformation to life by reprioritising spending in every country.  Calling for urgent UN reform, he noted that the world’s first passenger jet aircraft carried 36 passengers in 1952 — but “that doesn’t mean that we can use it today to take us to Mars”.  Times are evolving, and the Organization must evolve with them.

Kőrösi  added while the Charter of the United Nations does not make this task easy, “until we change it, our task is to apply it”.  This means avoiding its selective application on conflict management, mass atrocities, genocide and other war crimes. Otherwise, the Security Council will be more of a problem than a solution to global instability.  Similarly, the General Assembly must adjust its own sails, he said, pointing out that a policymaking body with more than 180 priorities has no strategic direction.