“The establishments now we have, haven’t any tooth. And generally, even after they have tooth, like in the case of the Safety Council, they haven’t a lot urge for food to chunk”, the UN chief mentioned.
With solely a couple of days till the 76th session of the Normal Meeting kicks of its high-level week, Mr. Guterres sat down with UN Information to reply questions on a number of matters, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to gender equality.
He known as for an equitable world vaccination plan, with variants persevering with to seem, that sooner or later, would possibly develop into resistant to present innoculations. “And on that day, no person can be protected, within the south and within the north, not even within the international locations the place all people was vaccinated,” he mentioned.
On Afghanistan, he argues that the scenario is “unpredictable” and warned: “What occurred in Afghanistan, would possibly embolden now, terrorist teams or different insurgent actions to develop into extra aggressive.”
The UN Chief additionally highlighted local weather change, saying the world is “on the verge of the abyss” and requested all Member States to make the subsequent UN Local weather Change Convention, COP26, a hit.
The interview has been edited for readability and size.
UN Information: In your current report on Our Frequent Agenda, you singled out multilateralism as the perfect software for rebuilding a sustainable world within the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Why do you maintain this sturdy conviction that multilateralism is the one positive manner ahead for our world at this time?
António Guterres: Effectively, look what has occurred to our world; a virus has defeated the world. Multiple yr and a half after every thing began, we nonetheless have the virus spreading in every single place. And we see a dramatic affect on the lives of individuals, a dramatic enhance of inequalities, economies in extraordinarily tough conditions, and naturally, probably the most weak struggling enormously.
The world was not capable of come collectively and to outline a world vaccination plan, and convey the international locations that may produce vaccines collectively, with the World Well being Group, with the worldwide monetary establishments, to then take care of the pharmaceutical trade and double the manufacturing, and make it possible for there may be an equitable distribution on the manufacturing. This can’t be carried out by a rustic alone; it must be carried out by all.
The issue is that the multilateral establishment now we have now – which is actually WHO – WHO has not even the ability to acquire details about the scenario. It doesn’t have the ability to analyze the origins of a illness.
So, we have to remedy the issue multilaterally, bringing all people collectively, however we have to have multilateral establishments with a stronger capability of governance so as to have the ability to stop, and so as to have the ability to remedy the challenges that we face.
When you discuss local weather, it’s the similar. We’re on the verge of the abyss. The reality is that our goal could be very clearly mounted by the scientific neighborhood, that temperature mustn’t go above 1.5 levels till the tip of the century.
We’re risking not to have the ability to do it, as a result of international locations are usually not cooperating amongst themselves. There’s plenty of distrust between developed international locations, creating international locations. There’s a north-south divide that’s making it tough for all to imagine commitments, to scale back emissions, in an effort to have a drastic discount the subsequent decade or two and attain carbon neutrality in 2050.
So, we want a strengthened multilateralism, it is clear that solely cooperating we are able to remedy the issues. However the establishments now we have, haven’t any tooth. And generally, even after they have tooth, like within the case of the Safety Council, they haven’t a lot urge for food to chunk.
We’d like a multilateral group of establishments community working collectively, as a result of every thing now could be interlinked, and with extra authority so as to have the ability to mobilize the entire worldwide neighborhood to unravel the issues that we face.
And that’s precisely one of many aims of the Frequent Agenda – to detect the worldwide commons and the worldwide public items that want improved governance and to work with member states to search out mechanisms to ensure that that governments to be simpler for us to have the ability to stop future pandemics, for us to have the ability to defeat local weather change, for us to have the ability to tackle the dramatic inequalities in at this time’s world.
UN Information: Allow us to now concentrate on COVID-19. You could have been insisting that nobody is protected till everyone seems to be protected, however the actuality is totally different, particularly in Africa, the place lower than 2% of the folks are vaccinated and in lots of components of the world vaccines are usually not getting used. What should be carried out for developed or richer nations to simply accept and act on the truth that the battle towards COVID-19 can solely succeed as a typical world enterprise?
António Guterres: Effectively, as I mentioned, we want the worldwide vaccination plan, and we want to have the ability to deliver collectively all those who produce or can produce vaccines and double the manufacturing after which have an equitable distribution.
This has been clearly our enchantment, sadly, not but met. And the result’s what you mentioned.
I imply, my nation [Portugal], that has been very profitable, now has 80 per cent of the inhabitants absolutely vaccinated. In Africa, as you talked about, there are international locations with lower than two per cent.
And the issue is that this virus is spreading like wildfire within the world south. It’s mutating, it’s altering and there’s a threat that, at a sure second, one in all these mutations will deliver a virus that’s ready to withstand the vaccines that now are utilized.
And that day, no person can be protected within the south and within the north, not even within the international locations the place all people was vaccinated.
So this can be a motive to grasp that the precedence should be to vaccinate all people in every single place. And that’s the reason we made an enchantment for all of the measures to be taken in an effort to assure that 70 per cent of the inhabitants of the world can be vaccinated in the midst of subsequent yr. 70 per cent in an equitable manner, not one % in a single place and 20% in one other.
UN Information: Let’s flip now to Afghanistan the place the scenario is a big concern, particularly for ladies. The brand new Taliban [leadership] doesn’t have a single girl in it and most ethnic teams have additionally been neglected. What broad technique do you suppose the UN and its companions ought to undertake to greatest assist the folks of Afghanistan now?
António Guterres: Effectively, the scenario is unpredictable. All of us need Afghanistan to have inclusive authorities.
All of us need Afghanistan to respect human rights particularly of ladies and women. All of us need Afghanistan by no means to be once more a centre for terrorists, to have a protected haven; all of us need Afghanistan to battle drug trafficking, however it’s tough to forecast what is going on to occur. It is nonetheless unclear what is going on to occur.
I feel that UN has an obligation, and our responsibility is to have interaction, to have interaction based mostly on what we are able to ship, and what we are able to ship is crucial humanitarian help, at this time second, and to have interaction in an effort to clarify to the Taliban how vital it’s for them to have an inclusive authorities of all of the totally different ethnicities, and, in fact, with ladies, to have ladies and women’ rights revered.
Girls should be capable of work, women should be capable of have all ranges of training, and, on the similar time, to cooperate with the worldwide neighborhood combating terrorism in an efficient manner. So, we have to interact with the Taliban, and that is what now we have carried out.
As you understand, now we have despatched Martin Griffiths, our Emergency Aid Coordinator and head of the Workplace of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to go to Kabul and to talk with the Taliban management on how can we ship humanitarian help or the way it can be carried out in a protected setting or in an equitable manner through which there are not any discriminations of any sort? And, on the similar time, to have interaction with them on the opposite features that I discussed, about human rights and different types of cooperation which can be important? So, we have to interact. We do not know the way issues will develop, however we all know that if we do not interact, they may most likely go within the incorrect course.
After which we have to mobilize worldwide neighborhood to offer humanitarian help. The Afghan individuals are struggling a lot. It’s important to deliver to the Afghans, meals, drugs and different fundamental types of help to keep away from a catastrophic scenario within the nation.
And the opposite concern now we have is, due to all of the totally different measures and sanctions that exist, that there’s a threat of utterly strangling the financial system.
So, I feel the worldwide neighborhood should discover methods to inject some money within the Afghan financial system in an effort to keep away from the collapse of the financial system, that can have devastating penalties in relation to the lifetime of Afghans, and likewise scary an enormous exodus that, in fact, can be an element of instability in the entire area.
UN Information: In lots of international locations around the globe, ladies are nonetheless left behind on a number of fronts. You’ve got carried out quite a bit to advance the difficulty of gender parity right here within the United Nations. However many critics cost that the UN ought to be driving this agenda extra forcefully. What actions do you want to see carried out to make sure that gender equality is a actuality by 2030?
António Guterres: Effectively, there are numerous dimensions. In fact, the illustration of ladies within the totally different organs of the UN, and likewise at a nationwide and worldwide degree; the questions of a help to ladies entrepreneurs and the financial empowerment of ladies combating gender-based violence. That’s nonetheless, as you understand, a horrible scenario in battle areas, however at dwelling, in lots of, many circumstances, abolishing all discriminatory laws that also exists in lots of international locations the place full equality between ladies and men are usually not within the legislation.
So, all this stuff are priorities for us, however there’s a central query, which is a query of energy. Energy at this time on the earth continues to be primarily targeting males and with the male dominated tradition.
And energy is often not given, energy is taken. So, we want ladies to completely battle for his or her rights and we want males that perceive that solely with full gender equality, the world will enhance and the issues we solved.
We’d like these males, to have interaction successfully within the battle for gender equality. And on this query of energy within the UN, as you understand, now we have now parity, equal variety of ladies and men in 180 excessive rating workplaces of the UN and within the leaders of our groups around the globe, as a result of we really feel that if within the organs the place the ability exists, there may be parity, this may inevitably have penalties, down the road.
So, we should have the identical in governments, we should have the identical in parliaments, we should have the identical in all our bodies.
We have to have ladies and men in full equality the place selections are taken, the place energy exists, to make it possible for we modify this unbalanced energy relationship, that’s the results of centuries of male domination and patriarchy.
UN Information: One other marginalized group is youth, and you’ve got been calling for everybody to offer youth a seat on the desk, as nation attempt to construct an inclusive and equitable world for all. What would you wish to see the youth themselves do to make it possible for they get that chance?
António Guterres: I feel younger folks now have monumental devices to return collectively and to make their voice heard.
Younger folks dominate social media rather more than my era. Younger folks have an infinite capability of mobilization as now we have seen within the actions towards racism, towards local weather change, towards inequalities of various types, the motion for gender equality, the place the younger era is extraordinarily progressive in relation to the older ones.
So, we have to create the institutional mechanisms to permit for the voice of younger folks to be extra current the place selections are taken.
And that’s the reason why, once more, within the Frequent Agenda, now we have quite a few vital measures to present younger folks voice and affect in the way in which the UN works.
UN Information: Let’s focus now on Africa, on the problems of battle. You’ve got warned just lately that occasions in Afghanistan might additionally affect what occurs subsequent in sure risky hotspots in Africa, specifically the place extremist ideology is driving battle. May you please clarify the way you see this?
António Guterres: If one seems to be at a scenario just like the Sahel, I’m very apprehensive. We see a discount of the French presence. We’ve got seen Chad shifting troops from probably the most harmful space.
We see the terrorist teams emboldened by the scenario in Afghanistan, the victory of the Taliban. And so, I feel it is time to actually rally efforts, to make it possible for we create an efficient safety mechanism within the Sahel.
That’s the reason I have been at all times advocating for a robust African power by the African union along with the regional organizations, with help from the Safety Council and a Chapter 7 decision [the means by which the Security Council can authorize the use of force], and with contributions, obligatory contributions, to ensure that power can be successfully supported.
However then we additionally know that army power is just not sufficient. We have to have growth, we have to battle the affect of local weather change, and we have to do every thing to enhance the governance of the world.
So, we want actually to spice up our efforts and I enchantment to the worldwide neighborhood to completely help it within the totally different dimensions.
Within the safety dimension, within the growth dimension, in the humanitarian dimension, within the governance and human rights dimensions. And if we do it, we can defeat terrorism within the Sahel.
But when we hold the identical scenario now we have at this time, I am very apprehensive about that growth. And the identical might be mentioned about different components of Africa, the place what occurred in Afghanistan, would possibly embolden terrorist teams now, or different insurgent actions to develop into extra aggressive.
UN Information: And on world safety, because the world continues to grapple with extra safety threats – in fact, you spoke concerning the problem of extremism, and different types of conflicts, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. What extra can the UN do to make the world a safer place?
António Guterres: Effectively, the largest downside at this time is the dearth of belief. And particularly the dearth of belief among the many huge powers. You see that within the difficulties of the Safety Council to take sufficient selections with the remainder of the totally different disaster on the earth.
And so, with this division, with this divide among the many huge powers with this lack of belief, what we see is an setting of impunity, folks suppose they’ll do no matter they need.
So, we have to rebuild belief, and we have to rebuild belief amongst those who have extra affect in world affairs to have the ability to cooperate in an effort to make it possible for we’re capable of unite the worldwide neighborhood in addressing the crises which can be multiplying now.
We see extra coup d’états, we see new conditions of battle, we see social instability and unrest.
We have to have a Safety Council that’s united, that’s sturdy. And for that, we want a critical dialogue among the many huge powers to attempt to discover frequent floor.
UN Information: The overall debate is subsequent week, Mr. Secretary-Normal, what’s your key message the world leaders as they’re coming subsequent week?
António Guterres: My major message: It is time to ring the alarm bell. We’re on the verge of a precipice and we’re shifting within the incorrect course.
Have a look at [COVID-19] vaccination, have a look at the difficulties in bringing collectively all international locations to make it possible for we make COP26 a hit.
Have a look at the multiplication of conflicts now we have witnessed in the previous couple of months. We have to change course, and we have to get up. So, my message to the leaders: Get up, change course, unite, and let’s attempt to defeat the large challenges we face at this time.