DAVOS: Geopolitical divides are hampering efforts to tackle issues like the climate crisis and unregulated developments in artificial intelligence, the UN secretary-general said on Wednesday.
In his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Antonio Guterres said that while the worsening climate crisis and AI-related risks were discussed at length at global and regional forums, the world lacked an effective strategy to deal with either.
“Geopolitical divides are preventing us from coming together around global solutions,” he said. “Little wonder that people everywhere are losing faith in governments, institutions and financial and economic systems.”
Some countries, he said, were “doing whatever it takes to further their own interests at all costs.”
Guterres pointed to the many conflicts that are fragmenting the world, including the war in Gaza, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the violence in Sudan, and said the parties driving them were “ignoring international law, trampling on the Geneva Conventions and even violating the United Nations Charter.”
“The world is standing by as civilians, mostly women and children, are killed, maimed, bombarded, forced from their homes and denied access to humanitarian aid.”
Guterres reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Gaza and said there was a need for “a process that leads to sustained peace for Israelis and Palestinians, based on a two-state solution.”
“This is the only way to stem the suffering and prevent a spillover that could send the entire region up in flames.”
The UN chief said also that geopolitical divisions played a major role in the faltering global economy and that economic insecurity was exacerbated by political instability.
Despite the challenges, Guterres expressed hope for the future.
“I am confident we can build a new, multipolar global order with new opportunities for leadership, balance and justice in international relations,” he said.
But to avoid a “slide into chaos,” it was vital that the world had strong multilateral institutions and frameworks, as well as effective mechanisms for global governance.
“Without them, further fragmentation is inevitable and the consequences are clear,” he said.
Guterres attributed the crisis in trust to the collapse of global norms.
“I am personally shocked by the systematic undermining of principles and standards we used to take for granted,” he said.
“I am outraged that so many countries and companies are pursuing their own narrow interests without any consideration for our shared future or the common good. I am certain that unless we take action, we can expect much, much worse.”
Rebuilding global trust required “deep reforms to global governance to manage geopolitical tensions during a new era of multipolarity” so we could build “a safer, more stable, more prosperous world,” he said.