UN Secretary-General Prioritizes 2019 Global Focus

UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By Janet Ekstract – The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres who delivered his annual New Year’s address in mid-January has set forth a detailed plan of action to focus on a number of crucial areas and expressed disappointment that the 2030 Agenda goals have not yet been met.

“We must accelerate our work,” Guterres said while stressing that there is no room for complacency because we must “meet the needs and expectations of the people we serve.”

Guterres emphasized that through collaboration and sharing responsibilities that “things get done.” He highlighted progress towards forging peace in Yemen, the Korean peninsula and South Sudan. The secretary-general also cited Ethiopia and Eritrea as an example of peace diplomacy.

For 2019, the UN chief has set forth an ambitious plan that includes pinpointing five priorities he wants the UN to focus on.

These include diplomacy for peace, a more active and ambitious plan for climate change, fast-tracking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), more stringent control and rules for new technology as well as solidifying UN values on a global scale.

Regarding diplomacy, the secretary-general made it clear that ”partnerships are essential”- especially in specific African and Middle Eastern countries such as Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, the Sahel, Mali, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and a number of other nations as well.

The UN chief made it clear that women must play a crucial role and be “full participants” in the peace process and that unity within the Security Council is a necessity in order to reach a consensus on previous deadlocks.

With regard to climate change, Guterres reminded everyone that by 2050 the climate goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord will be “zero emissions” and that in 2020 – overall climate goals must be seriously reviewed in order to meet the requirements for 2050. The secretary-general stated he will convene a Climate Conference on September 23 of this year, as he explained: “to mobilize action with business and political leaders, communities and civil society, to put forth future climate goals for a green future.” He also commented that the UN climate conference in Poland last December was very successful and resulted in a broader consensus about how the 2015 Paris Agreement could be implemented.

On the technology front, Guterres stated that safer digitalization and advanced technologies will need to be monitored and carefully evaluated.

Finally, the UN secretary-general called on the Member States to get a “sharper focus on what works in reducing poverty and inequality, and in delivering strong and inclusive economies while safeguarding the environment.” The UN chief emphasized it will be necessary to allocate a lot more financing to resolve these issues.

September 2019 will be a pivotal month because Guterres will invite heads of State and Government to an additional summit that follows the Climate Change Summit to focus on a plan to accelerate action on SDGs as well as three other high-level meetings focusing on financing for development, universal health coverage, and risks that Small Island Developing States are facing.

The secretary-general concluded his New Year message by urging all nations and players “to make September 2019, a defining moment” with regard to developing fair globalization, accelerating SDG goals and working harder to put an end to out-of-control climate change.

Guterres reminded everyone that the universal values of the United Nations Charter must unite nations.

“What guides us is a set of values,” but the UN chief reminded everyone that these values are “under attack around the world” and cautioned that “an ideological battle is taking place.” He said the voices and ideologies of hate from the past have infiltrated mainstream society and that every nation must be extra vigilant.

He urged the UN to “keep proving our worth through action.”

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