UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said today’s world is worse than it was 5 years ago due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis and geopolitical tensions that have fueled conflicts in many places across the globe.
Guterres added in an interview with the Associated Press, a US news agency, coinciding with the beginning of his second term as Secretary-General of the United Nations, that the Appeal for Peace, which he issued on his first day in the top position of the United Nations (UN) on January 1, 2017, and his priorities in his first term, to try to prevent conflicts and address inequality.
“The world, the COVID-19 crisis, and global warming have not changed,” he said.
“The Secretary-General of the United Nations has no authority,” Guterres said. “I may have influence. I can persuade. I can mediate, but I have no authority.”
Before becoming head of the United Nations, Guterres said he envisioned the position as “an organizer, mediator, bridge-builder and honest party to help find solutions that benefit all concerned”.
These are things I “have to do every day,” he continued.
The Secretary-General noted that he spoke (for example) this week to the African Union envoy, Olusegun Obasanjo, twice with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and once with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in his attempt to stop hostilities in Ethiopia between the government and the forces in the besieged region of Tigray.
“I hope that we will be in a situation where it will soon be possible to stop hostilities, and that is where I focus most of my efforts,” Guterres added.