UN chief calls for stronger cooperation in response to global ‘stress test’


YANGON — The United Nations secretary-general says the world is undergoing a “stress test” as a result of climate change, geopolitical divisions and inequality, and urged stronger international cooperation.

In his New Year’s message, Mr Antonio Guterres said that geo-political divisions were deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve.

“[R]ecord numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection,” he said.

“Inequality is growing. And people are questioning a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“Intolerance is on the rise … Trust is on the decline.”

But he said there were also reasons for optimism, particularly regarding conflicts in Yemen, South Sudan, and between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The UN recently oversaw a global agreement on migration and refugees and countries were mobilising behind the Sustainable Development Goals, he added.

The UN was also able to bring countries together to formulate a work programme for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Guterres said, urging the world “to seize our last best chance … to stop uncontrolled and spiraling climate change”.

“When international cooperation works, the world wins … In 2019, the United Nations will continue to bring people together to build bridges and create space for solutions.

“[L]et’s resolve to confront threats, defend human dignity and build a better future — together.”

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar