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UN Secretary General Statement | UNGA 78

2023

The UN Secretary-General delivered the statement at the opening of the 2023 UN General Assembly on 19 September 2023.

Mr. President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Just nine days ago, many of the world’s challenges coalesced in an awful hellscape.

Thousands of people in Derna, Libya lost their lives in epic, unprecedented flooding. 

They were victims many times over.

Victims of years of conflict.

Victims of climate chaos. 

Victims of leaders – near and far – who failed to find a way to peace.

The people of Derna lived and died in the epicenter of that indifference – as the skies unleashed 100 times the monthly rainfall in 24 hours … as dams broke after years of war and neglect … as everything they knew was wiped off the map.

Even now, as we speak, bodies are washing ashore from the same Mediterranean Sea where billionaires sunbathe on their super yachts. 

Derna is a sad snapshot of the state of our world – the flood of inequity, of injustice, of inability to confront the challenges in our midst. 

Excellencies,

Our world is becoming unhinged.

Geopolitical tensions are rising.

Global challenges are mounting.

And we seem incapable of coming together to respond.

We confront a host of existential threats – from the climate crisis to disruptive technologies – and we do so at a time of chaotic transition. 

For much of the Cold War, international relations were largely seen through the prism of two superpowers.

Then came a short period of unipolarity.

Now we are rapidly moving towards a multipolar world.

This is, in many ways, positive. It brings new opportunities for justice and balance in international relations.

But multipolarity alone cannot guarantee peace.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe had numerous powers. It was truly multipolar. But it lacked robust multilateral institutions and the result was World War I.

A multipolar world needs strong and effective multilateral institutions.

Yet global governance is stuck in time.

Look no further than the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods system.

They reflect the political and economic realities of 1945, when many countries in this Assembly Hall were still under colonial domination. 

The world has changed. 

Our institutions have not.

We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is. 

Instead of solving problems, they risk becoming part of the problem.

And, indeed, divides are deepening. 

Divides among economic and military powers.

Divides between North and South, East and West.

We are inching ever closer to a Great Fracture in economic and financial systems and trade relations; one that threatens a single, open internet; with diverging strategies on technology and artificial intelligence; and potentially clashing security frameworks.

It is high time to renew multilateral institutions based on 21st century economic and political realities – rooted in equity, solidarity and universality and anchored in the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. 

That means reforming the Security Council in line with the world of today. 

It means redesigning the international financial architecture so that it becomes truly universal and serves as a global safety net for developing countries in trouble.

I have no illusions. Reforms are a question of power.

I know there are many competing interests and agendas.

But the alternative to reform is not the status quo. 

The alternative to reform is further fragmentation. 

It is reform or rupture.

At the same time, divides are also widening within countries.

Democracy is under threat. Authoritarianism is on the market. Inequalities are growing. And hate speech is on the rise.

In the face of all these challenges and more, compromise has become a dirty word.

Our world needs statesmanship, not gamesmanship and gridlock.

As I told the G20, it is time for a global compromise. 

Politics is compromised. 

Diplomacy is compromised. 

Effective leadership is compromised. 

Leaders have a [special] responsibility to achieve compromise in building a common future of peace and prosperity for our common good.

Excellencies,

Over the past year, we have shown the promise of multilateral action.

With important new agreements on safeguarding biodiversity … on protecting the high seas … on climate loss and damage … on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. 

We have all the tools and resources to solve our shared challenges.

What we need is determination. 

Determination is in the DNA of our United Nations – summoning us with the first words of the Charter:

“We the people of the United Nations…determined”:

Determined to end the scourge of war.

Determined to reaffirm faith in human rights.

Determined to uphold justice and respect international law.

And determined to promote social progress and better lives for all people.

It falls to us — through our actions – to apply that determination to the challenges of today being faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.

Excellencies,

It starts with determination to uphold the Charter’s pledge for peace.

Yet instead of ending the scurge of war, we are seeing a surge of conflicts, coups and chaos. 

If every country fulfills its obligations under the Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed.

When countries break those pledges, they create a world of insecurity for everyone.

Exhibit A: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, has unleashed a nexus of horror: lives destroyed; human rights abused; families torn apart; children traumatized; hopes and dreams shattered.

But beyond Ukraine, the war has serious implications for us all.

Nuclear threats put us all at risk.

Ignoring global treaties and conventions makes us all less safe.

And the poisoning of global diplomacy obstructs progress across the board.   

We must not relent in working for peace – a just peace in line with the UN Charter and international law.

And even while fighting rages, we must pursue every avenue to ease the suffering of civilians in Ukraine and beyond.

The Black Sea Initiative was one such avenue.
 
The world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizers to stabilize markets and guarantee food security and I will not give up on my efforts to make it happen. 

Excellencies,

Around the globe, old tensions fester while new risks emerge.

Nuclear disarmament is at a standstill while countries develop new weapons and make new threats. 

Across the Sahel, a series of coups is further destabilizing the region as terrorism is gaining ground.

Sudan is descending into full-scale civil war, millions have fled and the country risks splitting apart.

In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, millions are displaced and gender-based violence is a horrific daily reality.

In Haiti, a country that suffered centuries of colonial exploitation is today overwhelmed by gang violence – and still awaits international support.

In Afghanistan, a staggering 70 per cent of the population needs humanitarian assistance with the rights of women and girls systematically denied.

In Myanmar, brutal violence, worsening poverty, and repression are crushing hopes for a return to democracy.

In the Middle East, escalating violence and bloodshed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is taking a terrible toll on civilians.

Unilateral actions are intensifying and undermining the possibility of a two-State solution — the only pathway to lasting peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.

Syria remains in ruins while peace remains remote. 

Meanwhile, natural disasters are worsening the man-made disaster of conflict.

In the face of these mounting crises, the global humanitarian system is on the verge of collapse.

Needs are rising.

And funding is drying up.

Our humanitarian operations are being forced to make massive cuts.  

But if we don’t feed the hungry, we are feeding conflict.

I urge all countries to step up and to fully fund the Global Humanitarian Appeal. 

Excellencies,

The peace and security architecture is under unprecedented strain.

That is why — in the context of the preparations for the Summit of the Future – we put forward ideas for the consideration of Member States for a New Agenda for Peace, based on the Charter and international law.

It provides a unifying vision to address existing and new threats for a world in transition. 

Calling on States to recommit to a world free from nuclear weapons, and to end the erosion of the nuclear disarmament and arms control regime.

Bolstering prevention at the global level by maximizing the capacity and convening power of the UN and our good offices to bridge geo-political divides.

Bolstering prevention at the national level by linking actions for peace with progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Putting women’s leadership and participation at the center of decision-making, and committing to the eradication of all forms of violence against women.

Calling for a broad-based reflection on peacekeeping and make it nimbler and more adaptable, with forward-looking transition and exit strategies from the start.

And supporting peace enforcement action by regional organizations – notably the African Union — with Security Council clear mandates and predictable funding.

Determination for peace also requires new governance frameworks for emerging threats – from artificial intelligence to lethal autonomous weapons [systems] that function without human control.

Excellencies,

Peace is inextricably linked to sustainable development. 

We see a familiar pattern around the world: the closer a country is to conflict, the farther it is from the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Charter calls on us to be determined in promoting social progress. In 21st century terms, that means achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Yet inequality defines our time.

From cities where skyscrapers tower over slums;

To countries that are forced to choose between serving their people, or servicing their debts.

Today, Africa spends more on debt interest than on healthcare.

Yesterday’s SDG Summit was about a global rescue plan to scale up support from trillions to trillions.

Excellencies,

The international financial architecture remains dysfunctional, outdated and unfair.

The deep reforms that are needed won’t happen overnight. 

But we can take determined steps now to help countries weather crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic [which were] dramatically impacted.

By urgently advancing the SDG Stimulus of 500 billion dollars per year and relieving the financial burden on developing and emerging economies.

By scaling up development and climate finance — increasing the capital base and changing the business model of Multilateral Development Banks.

By ensuring effective debt relief mechanisms and channeling emergency financial support towards those in greatest need.

Excellencies,

We must be determined to tackle the most immediate threat to our future: our overheating planet. 

Climate change is not just a change in the weather. 

Climate change is changing life on our planet. 

It is affecting every aspect of our work.

It is killing people and devastating communities.

Around the world, we see not only accelerating temperatures, we see an acceleration in sea levels rising – glaciers receding – deadly diseases spreading – the extinction of species –– and cities under threat. 

And this is only the beginning.

We have just survived the hottest days, the hottest months, and the hottest summer on the books.

Behind every broken record are broken economies, broken lives and whole nations at the breaking point. 

Every continent, every region and every country is feeling the heat.

But I’m not sure all leaders are feeling that heat.

Actions are falling abysmally short. 

There is still time to keep rising temperatures within the 1.5 degree limits of the Paris [Climate] Agreement.

But that requires drastic steps now – to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and to ensure climate justice for those who did least to cause the crisis but are paying the highest price. 

We have the receipts.

G20 countries are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse emissions. They must lead.

They must break their addiction to fossil fuels, stop new coal, and heed the International Energy Agency’s findings that new oil and gas licensing by them is incompatible with keeping the 1.5 degree limit alive.

To stand a fighting chance of limiting global temperature rise, we must phase out coal, oil and gas in a fair and equitable way – and massively boost renewables. 

This is the only path to affordable renewable energy for all and importantly many in Africa still lack electricity.

So, the fossil fuel age has failed.

If fossil fuel companies want to be part of the solution, they must lead the transition to renewable energy. 

No more dirty production. No more fake solutions. No more bankrolling climate denial. 

I have laid out a Climate Solidarity Pact, in which all big emitters and are asked to make extra efforts to cut emissions; and wealthier countries support emerging economies with finance and technology to do so.

For example, Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s solar capacity – but just 2 per cent of renewable investments.

I have also put forward an Acceleration Agenda to supercharge these efforts.

Developed countries must reach net zero as close as possible to 2040, and emerging economies as close as possible to 2050 in line with common but differentiated responsibilities.

Immediate steps include: 

An end to coal – by 2030 for OECD countries and 2040 for the rest of the world.

An end to fossil fuel subsidies. 

And a price on carbon. 

Developed countries must also finally deliver the $100 billion for developing country climate action, as promised;

Double adaptation finance by 2025, as promised;

And replenish the Green Climate Fund, as promised.

All countries must work to operationalize the loss and damage fund this year. 

And ensure universal Early Warning coverage by 2027.

Tomorrow, I will welcome credible first movers and doers to our Climate Ambition Summit.

COP28 is around the corner.

Climate chaos is breaking new records, but we cannot afford the same old broken record of scapegoating and waiting for others to move first. 

And to all those working, marching and championing real climate action, I want you to know that you are on the right side of history and that I am with you. I won’t give up this fight of our lives.

Excellencies,

We must also be determined to honor the Charter’s commitment to fundamental human rights.

Only four women signed our founding document. A glance around this room shows that things have not changed enough.

“We the peoples” does not mean “We the men.”

Women still expect equal opportunities and salaries; equality before the law; the full valorization of their work and the taking into account of their opinions. 

Across the world, women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – are being reduced or even eliminated; their freedoms restricted.

In some countries, women and girls are punished for wearing too much clothing; in others, because they don’t carry enough.

Thanks to generations of women’s rights activists, times are changing. 

From sports fields to schools to public squares, girls and women are challenging the patriarchy – and triumphing.
 
I am at their side.

I took office with a commitment to ensuring gender parity in the United Nations. 

We have achieved this at senior levels and are well on our way to doing so across the entire UN system. 

Because gender equality is not a problem. Gender equality is the solution. 

Equality is not a favor done to women, but a fundamental condition to ensure a better future for all.

Excellencies,

We must be determined to answer the Call to Action to put human rights at the heart of our work.

Seventy-five years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enormous progress has been made on some issues – from ending colonization and segregation to guaranteeing people’s right to vote. women.

But we have not achieved basic rights for all, when 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty and hunger reaches levels not seen since 2005.

When discrimination based on skin color and ethnic origin is perfectly legal in many countries.

When people must risk death to seek a better life.

When refugees, migrants and minorities are regularly hunted down and demonized.

When declaring your gender identity or simply who you love can lead to imprisonment or even execution.

When the very act of expressing yourself can have dangerous consequences.

Human rights – political, civil, economic, social and cultural – are the key to solving many interrelated global problems.

Laws to protect vulnerable people must be adopted and enforced; we must stop targeting minorities and we must place human rights and dignity at the heart of social, economic and migration policies.

All governments must respect the commitments they made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Excelencias,

We also have to confront the imminent developments that bring new technologies to the demise of human beings.

Artificial generative intelligence is very promising – but it may also be possible to cross the Rubicón and there is a major problem in which we can control it.

When I mentioned Artificial Intelligence in my speech before the General Assembly of 2017, we also mentioned the last one.

Ahora, the AI ​​is in full swing: a theme that provokes so much darker than mine.

Including some items that turn off the generative AI and require a major regulation.

But most of the aspects of digital technology are not on the horizon.

This is what it is. 

The digital breach is exacerbating the desigualdades.

The discourse of odio, disinformation and the theories of the conspiracy in social laws propagandize and amplify through IA, promote democracy and fuel violence and conflicts in real life.  

Vigilance in the red and collection of data facilitates the abuse of human rights at large scale.

Y las tecnologicas y los gobiernos están lejos de contrarr eluciones.

Excellencies,

We must move quickly and mend things.

New technologies require new and innovative forms of governance – with input from experts building this technology and from those monitoring its abuses.

And we urgently need a Global Digital Compact — between governments, regional organizations, the private sector and civil society — to mitigate the risks of digital technologies, and identify ways to harness their benefits for the good of humanity.

Some have called for consideration of a new global entity on AI that could provide a source of information and expertise for Member States.

There are many different models — inspired by such examples as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN stands ready to host the global and inclusive discussions that are needed, depending on the decisions of Member States.

To help advance the search for concrete governance solutions, I will appoint this month a High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence – which will provide recommendations by the end of this year.

Next year’s Summit of the Future is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for progress to deal with these new threats, in line with the vision of the UN Charter.

Member States will decide how to move forward on the New Agenda for Peace, the Global Digital Compact, reforms to the international financial architecture, and many other proposals to address challenges and bring greater justice and equity to global governance.

Excellencies,

The United Nations was created precisely for moments like this – moments of maximum danger and minimum agreement.

We can and must use our tools in flexible and creative ways. 

Last month, we saw the dividends of determination off the coast of Yemen.

Carrying one million barrels of oil, the decaying FSO Safer supertanker was a ticking time bomb — a looming ecological disaster in the Red Sea.

But no one offered to solve the problem. 

So, the United Nations stepped in and brought the world together.

We mobilized resources, assembled the experts, navigated difficult negotiations and built trust.

We have more work ahead – and more resources are needed. 

But last month, the oil was successfully transferred from the Safer.

This UN-led action saved the Red Sea.

When no one else could or would, UN determination got the job done.

Despite our long list of global challenges, that same spirit of determination can guide us forward.

Let us be determined to heal divisions and forge peace. 

Determined to uphold the dignity and worth of every person.

Determined to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and effectively leave no one behind.

Determined to reform multilateralism for the 21st century and come together for the common good.

Thank you.

************************************************** *****************************

[All-English]

Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Just nine days ago, many of the world’s challenges coalesced in an awful hellscape.

Thousands of people in Derna, Libya lost their lives in epic, unprecedented flooding. 

They were victims many times over.

Victims of years of conflict.

Victims of climate chaos. 

Victims of leaders – near and far – who failed to find a way to peace.

The people of Derna lived and died in the epicenter of that indifference – as the skies unleashed 100 times the monthly rainfall in 24 hours … as dams broke after years of war and neglect … as everything they knew was wiped off the map.

Even now, as we speak, bodies are washing ashore from the same Mediterranean Sea where billionaires sunbathe on their super yachts. 

Derna is a sad snapshot of the state of our world – the flood of inequity, of injustice, of inability to confront the challenges in our midst. 

Excellencies,

Our world is becoming unhinged.

Geopolitical tensions are rising.

Global challenges are mounting.

And we seem incapable of coming together to respond.

We confront a host of existential threats – from the climate crisis to disruptive technologies – and we do so at a time of chaotic transition. 

For much of the Cold War, international relations were largely seen through the prism of two superpowers.

Then came a short period of unipolarity.

Now we are rapidly moving towards a multipolar world.

This is, in many ways, positive. It brings new opportunities for justice and balance in international relations.

But multipolarity alone cannot guarantee peace.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe had numerous powers. It was truly multipolar. But it lacked robust multilateral institutions and the result was World War I.

A multipolar world needs strong and effective multilateral institutions.

Yet global governance is stuck in time.

Look no further than the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods system.

They reflect the political and economic realities of 1945, when many countries in this Assembly Hall were still under colonial domination. 

The world has changed. 

Our institutions have not.

We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is. 

Instead of solving problems, they risk becoming part of the problem.

And, indeed, divides are deepening. 

Divides among economic and military powers.

Divides between North and South, East and West.

We are inching ever closer to a Great Fracture in economic and financial systems and trade relations; one that threatens a single, open internet; with diverging strategies on technology and artificial intelligence; and potentially clashing security frameworks.

It is high time to renew multilateral institutions based on 21st century economic and political realities – rooted in equity, solidarity and universality and anchored in the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. 

That means reforming the Security Council in line with the world of today. 

It means redesigning the international financial architecture so that it becomes truly universal and serves as a global safety net for developing countries in trouble.

I have no illusions. Reforms are a question of power.

I know there are many competing interests and agendas.

But the alternative to reform is not the status quo. 

The alternative to reform is further fragmentation. 

It is reform or rupture.

At the same time, divides are also widening within countries.

Democracy is under threat. Authoritarianism is on the market. Inequalities are growing. And hate speech is on the rise.

In the face of all these challenges and more, compromise has become a dirty word.

Our world needs statesmanship, not gamesmanship and gridlock.

As I told the G20, it is time for a global compromise. 

Politics is compromised. 

Diplomacy is compromised. 

Effective leadership is compromised. 

Leaders have a [special] responsibility to achieve compromise in building a common future of peace and prosperity for our common good.

Excellencies,

Over the past year, we have shown the promise of multilateral action.

With important new agreements on safeguarding biodiversity … on protecting the high seas … on climate loss and damage … on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. 

We have all the tools and resources to solve our shared challenges.

What we need is determination. 

Determination is in the DNA of our United Nations – summoning us with the first words of the Charter:

“We the people of the United Nations…determined”:

Determined to end the scourge of war.

Determined to reaffirm faith in human rights.

Determined to uphold justice and respect international law.

And determined to promote social progress and better lives for all people.

It falls to us — through our actions – to apply that determination to the challenges of today being faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.

Excellencies,

It starts with determination to uphold the Charter’s pledge for peace.

Yet instead of ending the scurge of war, we are seeing a surge of conflicts, coups and chaos. 

If every country fulfills its obligations under the Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed.

When countries break those pledges, they create a world of insecurity for everyone.

Exhibit A: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, has unleashed a nexus of horror: lives destroyed; human rights abused; families torn apart; children traumatized; hopes and dreams shattered.

But beyond Ukraine, the war has serious implications for us all.

Nuclear threats put us all at risk.

Ignoring global treaties and conventions makes us all less safe.

And the poisoning of global diplomacy obstructs progress across the board.  

We must not relent in working for peace – a just peace in line with the UN Charter and international law.

And even while fighting rages, we must pursue every avenue to ease the suffering of civilians in Ukraine and beyond.

The Black Sea Initiative was one such avenue.
 
The world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizers to stabilize markets and guarantee food security and I will not give up on my efforts to make it happen. 

Excellencies,

Around the globe, old tensions fester while new risks emerge.

Nuclear disarmament is at a standstill while countries develop new weapons and make new threats. 

Across the Sahel, a series of coups is further destabilizing the region as terrorism is gaining ground.

Sudan is descending into full-scale civil war, millions have fled and the country risks splitting apart.

In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, millions are displaced and gender-based violence is a horrific daily reality.

In Haiti, a country that suffered centuries of colonial exploitation is today overwhelmed by gang violence – and still awaits international support.

In Afghanistan, a staggering 70 per cent of the population needs humanitarian assistance with the rights of women and girls systematically denied.

In Myanmar, brutal violence, worsening poverty, and repression are crushing hopes for a return to democracy.

In the Middle East, escalating violence and bloodshed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is taking a terrible toll on civilians.

Unilateral actions are intensifying and undermining the possibility of a two-State solution — the only pathway to lasting peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.

Syria remains in ruins while peace remains remote. 

Meanwhile, natural disasters are worsening the man-made disaster of conflict.

In the face of these mounting crises, the global humanitarian system is on the verge of collapse.

Needs are rising.

And funding is drying up.

Our humanitarian operations are being forced to make massive cuts.  

But if we don’t feed the hungry, we are feeding conflict.

I urge all countries to step up and to fully fund the Global Humanitarian Appeal. 

Excellencies,

The peace and security architecture is under unprecedented strain.

That is why — in the context of the preparations for the Summit of the Future – we put forward ideas for the consideration of Member States for a New Agenda for Peace, based on the Charter and international law.

It provides a unifying vision to address existing and new threats for a world in transition. 

Calling on States to recommit to a world free from nuclear weapons, and to end the erosion of the nuclear disarmament and arms control regime.

Bolstering prevention at the global level by maximizing the capacity and convening power of the UN and our good offices to bridge geo-political divides.

Bolstering prevention at the national level by linking actions for peace with progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Putting women’s leadership and participation at the center of decision-making, and committing to the eradication of all forms of violence against women.

Calling for a broad-based reflection on peacekeeping and make it nimbler and more adaptable, with forward-looking transition and exit strategies from the start.

And supporting peace enforcement action by regional organizations – notably the African Union — with Security Council clear mandates and predictable funding.

Determination for peace also requires new governance frameworks for emerging threats – from artificial intelligence to lethal autonomous weapons [systems] that function without human control.

Excellencies,

Peace is inextricably linked to sustainable development. 

We see a familiar pattern around the world: the closer a country is to conflict, the farther it is from the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Charter calls on us to be determined in promoting social progress. In 21st century terms, that means achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Yet inequality defines our time.

From cities where skyscrapers tower over slums;

To countries that are forced to choose between serving their people, or servicing their debts.

Today, Africa spends more on debt interest than on healthcare.

Yesterday’s SDG Summit was about a global rescue plan to scale up support from trillions to trillions.

Excellencies,

The international financial architecture remains dysfunctional, outdated and unfair.

The deep reforms that are needed won’t happen overnight. 

But we can take determined steps now to help countries weather crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic [which were] dramatically impacted.

By urgently advancing the SDG Stimulus of 500 billion dollars per year and relieving the financial burden on developing and emerging economies.

By scaling up development and climate finance — increasing the capital base and changing the business model of Multilateral Development Banks.

By ensuring effective debt relief mechanisms and channeling emergency financial support towards those in greatest need.

Excellencies,

We must be determined to tackle the most immediate threat to our future: our overheating planet. 

Climate change is not just a change in the weather. 

Climate change is changing life on our planet. 

It is affecting every aspect of our work.

It is killing people and devastating communities.

Around the world, we see not only accelerating temperatures, we see an acceleration in sea levels rising – glaciers receding – deadly diseases spreading – the extinction of species –– and cities under threat. 

And this is only the beginning.

We have just survived the hottest days, the hottest months, and the hottest summer on the books.

Behind every broken record are broken economies, broken lives and whole nations at the breaking point. 

Every continent, every region and every country is feeling the heat.

But I’m not sure all leaders are feeling that heat.

Actions are falling abysmally short. 

There is still time to keep rising temperatures within the 1.5 degree limits of the Paris [Climate] Agreement.

But that requires drastic steps now – to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and to ensure climate justice for those who did least to cause the crisis but are paying the highest price. 

We have the receipts.

G20 countries are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse emissions. They must lead.

They must break their addiction to fossil fuels, stop new coal, and heed the International Energy Agency’s findings that new oil and gas licensing by them is incompatible with keeping the 1.5 degree limit alive.

To stand a fighting chance of limiting global temperature rise, we must phase out coal, oil and gas in a fair and equitable way – and massively boost renewables. 

This is the only path to affordable renewable energy for all and importantly many in Africa still lack electricity.

So, the fossil fuel age has failed.

If fossil fuel companies want to be part of the solution, they must lead the transition to renewable energy. 

No more dirty production. No more fake solutions. No more bankrolling climate denial. 

I have laid out a Climate Solidarity Pact, in which all big emitters and are asked to make extra efforts to cut emissions; and wealthier countries support emerging economies with finance and technology to do so.

For example, Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s solar capacity – but just 2 per cent of renewable investments.

I have also put forward an Acceleration Agenda to supercharge these efforts.

Developed countries must reach net zero as close as possible to 2040, and emerging economies as close as possible to 2050 in line with common but differentiated responsibilities.

Immediate steps include: 

An end to coal – by 2030 for OECD countries and 2040 for the rest of the world.

An end to fossil fuel subsidies. 

And a price on carbon. 

Developed countries must also finally deliver the $100 billion for developing country climate action, as promised;

Double adaptation finance by 2025, as promised;

And replenish the Green Climate Fund, as promised.

All countries must work to operationalize the loss and damage fund this year. 

And ensure universal Early Warning coverage by 2027.

Tomorrow, I will welcome credible first movers and doers to our Climate Ambition Summit.

COP28 is around the corner.

Climate chaos is breaking new records, but we cannot afford the same old broken record of scapegoating and waiting for others to move first. 

And to all those working, marching and championing real climate action, I want you to know that you are on the right side of history and that I am with you. I won’t give up this fight of our lives.

Excellencies,

We must also be determined to honor the Charter’s commitment to fundamental human rights.

Just four women signed our founding document. One look around this room shows not enough has changed.

“We, the Peoples” does not mean “We, the men.”

Women are still waiting for equal opportunities and equal pay; for equality under the law; for their work to be valued and their opinions to count. 

Around the globe, women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights — are being suppressed and even rolled back, and women’s freedoms curtailed.

In some countries, women and girls are punished for wearing too many clothes; in others, for wearing too few.

Thanks to generations of women’s rights activists, times are changing. 

From sports fields to schools and public squares, girls and women are challenging the patriarchy — and winning. 

I stand with them.

I entered this office with a commitment to ensuring gender parity at the UN. 

We achieved that at senior levels and are on track to do so across the UN system. 

Because gender equality is not the problem. Gender equality is the solution. 

It is not a favor to women; it is fundamental to ensuring a better future for all.

Excellencies,

We must be determined to answer the Call to Action to put human rights at the heart of our work.

Seventy-five years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there has been enormous progress in some areas, from ending colonization and segregation to ensuring women’s voting rights.

But we have not achieved basic rights for all when 1.2 billion people still live in acute poverty, and hunger is at levels not seen since 2005.

When discrimination on racial and ethnic grounds is perfectly legal in many countries.

When people must risk death to seek a better life.

When refugees, migrants and minorities are routinely demonized and hounded.

When declaring your gender identity or simply who you love can lead to imprisonment or even execution.

When speaking out can lead to perilous consequences.

Human rights – political, civil, economic, social and cultural – are the key to solving many of the world’s interlinked problems.

Laws to protect the vulnerable must be enacted and enforced; the targeting of minorities must stop; and human rights and human dignity must be at the center of social, economic, and migration policies.

All governments must fulfill the commitment they made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Excellencies,

We must also face up to the looming threats posed to human rights by new technologies.

Generative artificial intelligence holds much promise – but it may also lead us across a Rubicon and into more danger than we can control.

When I mentioned Artificial Intelligence in my General Assembly speech in 2017, only two other leaders even uttered the term.

Now AI is on everyone’s lips – a subject of both awe, and fear.

Even some of those who developed generative AI are calling for greater regulation.

But many of the dangers of digital technology are not looming.

They are here. 

The digital divide is inflaming inequalities.

Hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy theories on social media platforms are spread and amplified by AI, undermining democracy and fueling violence and conflict in real life.  

Online surveillance and data harvesting are enabling human rights abuses on a mass scale.

And technology companies and governments are far from finding solutions.

Excellencies,

We must move quickly and mend things.

New technologies require new and innovative forms of governance – with input from experts building this technology and from those monitoring its abuses.

And we urgently need a Global Digital Compact — between governments, regional organizations, the private sector and civil society — to mitigate the risks of digital technologies, and identify ways to harness their benefits for the good of humanity.

Some have called for consideration of a new global entity on AI that could provide a source of information and expertise for Member States.

There are many different models — inspired by such examples as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN stands ready to host the global and inclusive discussions that are needed, depending on the decisions of Member States.

To help advance the search for concrete governance solutions, I will appoint this month a High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence – which will provide recommendations by the end of this year.

Next year’s Summit of the Future is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for progress to deal with these new threats, in line with the vision of the UN Charter.

Member States will decide how to move forward on the New Agenda for Peace, the Global Digital Compact, reforms to the international financial architecture, and many other proposals to address challenges and bring greater justice and equity to global governance.

Excellencies,

The United Nations was created precisely for moments like this – moments of maximum danger and minimum agreement.

We can and must use our tools in flexible and creative ways. 

Last month, we saw the dividends of determination off the coast of Yemen.

Carrying one million barrels of oil, the decaying FSO Safer supertanker was a ticking time bomb — a looming ecological disaster in the Red Sea.

But no one offered to solve the problem. 

So, the United Nations stepped in and brought the world together.

We mobilized resources, assembled the experts, navigated difficult negotiations and built trust.

We have more work ahead – and more resources are needed. 

But last month, the oil was successfully transferred from the Safer.

This UN-led action saved the Red Sea.

When no one else could or would, UN determination got the job done.

Despite our long list of global challenges, that same spirit of determination can guide us forward.

Let us be determined to heal divisions and forge peace. 

Determined to uphold the dignity and worth of every person.

Determined to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind.

Determined to reform multilateralism for the 21st century and come together for the common good.

Thank you.

************************************************** *******************************************

[All-French]

Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just nine days ago we discovered a vision from hell, a terrible landscape, the result of a compilation of many of the problems facing the world.

Thousands of people have lost their lives in Derna, Libya, in unprecedented floods of epic proportions.

They were victims of several scourges.

Victims of years of conflict.

Victims of climate chaos.

Victims of leaders, who, there and elsewhere, have not been able to find the path to peace.

The inhabitants of Derna lived and died at the epicenter of this indifference: in 24 hours, the sky poured down the equivalent of 100 times a month’s volume of precipitation… the dams failed afterwards years of war and neglect… and everything the population knew has been wiped from the map.

As we speak, the bodies of victims are washing up on Mediterranean beaches, while billionaires sunbathe on their super-yachts.
Derna is a sad snapshot of the state of our world, swept away by the torrent of inequalities and injustices, and paralyzed in the face of the challenges ahead.

Excellencies,

Our world is upside down.

Geopolitical tensions are worsening.

Global challenges are multiplying.

And we seem incapable of joining forces to face it.

We grapple with a multitude of existential threats – from the climate crisis to disruptive technologies – even as we navigate a period of chaotic transition.

During most of the Cold War, international relations were largely viewed through the prism of the two superpowers.

Then came a brief period of unipolarity.

We are now rapidly moving towards a multipolar world.

This is a positive development in many respects, bringing new perspectives of justice and balance in international relations.

But multipolarity alone cannot be a guarantee of peace.

At the start of the 20th century, Europe was made up of many powers. She was truly multipolar. But it did not have strong multilateral institutions. And what was the result? WWI.

A multipolar world needs strong and effective multilateral institutions.

Yet global governance is frozen in time.

Just look at the UN Security Council and the Bretton Woods system.

They reflect the political and economic realities of 1945, when many countries in this room were still under colonial rule.

The world has changed.

Our institutions, no.

We cannot effectively deal with problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is.

Instead of helping us solve the problems, our institutions risk being one of the sources.

And in fact, the divisions continue to grow.

The divisions between economic and military powers.

The divides between North and South, East and West.

We are getting dangerously close to a Great Fracture in economic and financial systems and trade relations, which jeopardizes the existence of a single open Internet, and is accompanied by divergent strategies regarding technologies and artificial intelligence , the risk being that the security frameworks are in conflict.

It is high time to renew multilateral institutions on the basis of the economic and political realities of the 21st century – and to anchor them in equity, solidarity and universality – in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law .

This requires reforming the Security Council to adapt it to today’s world.

This requires rethinking the international financial architecture so that it becomes truly universal and a global safety net for developing countries in difficulty.

I have no illusions. Reforms are about power.

I know there are many competing interests and conflicting priorities.

But the alternative is not between reform and the status quo.

The choice is between reform and even greater fragmentation.

It’s reform or break.

At the same time, gaps are also widening within countries.

Democracy is under threat. Authoritarianism is on the march. Inequalities are getting worse. And hate speech is spreading.

Faced with all these challenges and many more, the word “compromise” seems to have become taboo.

What our world needs is political vision, not maneuvering and stalemate.

As I said at the G20, it is time for a global compromise.

Politics is compromise.

Diplomacy is compromise.

Effective leadership is compromise.

World leaders have a duty to reach a compromise to build a common future of peace and prosperity, in the common interest.

Excellencies,

Over the past year, we have shown that multilateral action holds great promise.

As proof of this, I cite the important new agreements on the safeguarding of biodiversity… on the protection of the high seas… on climate losses and damage… on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment .

We have all the tools and resources we need to address these common challenges.

What we lack is determination.

Acting with determination is part of the DNA of our United Nations, as shown by the opening words of the Charter, in the form of an exhortation:

“We, the peoples of the United Nations […] resolute”:

Resolved to put an end to the scourge of war.

Resolved to reaffirm their faith in human rights.

Determined to uphold justice and international law.

And determined to promote social progress and enable everyone to live a better life, while remaining faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.

Faced with today’s challenges, it is our duty to act with determination.

Excellencies,

It begins with the determination to uphold the promise of peace set out in the Charter.

Yet, far from being rid of the scourge of war, we are witnessing an increase in conflicts, coups and chaos.

If each country fulfilled its obligations under the Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed.

When countries fail to meet their commitments, they create a world of insecurity for all.

Evidence number 1: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, unleashed a series of atrocities: lives destroyed, human rights violated, families torn apart, children traumatized, hopes and dreams shattered.

Beyond Ukraine, the war has serious repercussions for everyone.

Nuclear threats put us all in danger.

Disregard for global agreements and treaties weakens us collectively.

And the poisoning of global diplomacy prevents progress in all areas.

We must continue to work tirelessly in the search for peace, a just peace consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.

And even as the fighting rages, we must explore all possible avenues to alleviate the suffering of civilian populations, in Ukraine and beyond.

The Black Sea Initiative was one such path.

The world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizer to stabilize markets and ensure food security.

I will not give up my efforts to achieve this.

Excellencies,

Across the world, old tensions are festering and new risks are emerging.

Nuclear disarmament has stalled as countries develop new weapons and pose new threats.

In the Sahel, a series of coups d’état further destabilizes the region, while terrorism gains ground.

Sudan is descending into all-out civil war, millions of people have fled and the country is on the verge of implosion.

In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, millions of people are displaced and gender-based violence is commonplace.

Haiti, a country that suffered centuries of colonial exploitation, is now overwhelmed by gang violence – and still awaiting help from the international community.

In Afghanistan, 70% of the population needs humanitarian aid, a dizzying percentage, and the rights of women and girls are systematically violated.

In Myanmar, brutal violence, deepening poverty and repression are dashing hopes of a return to democracy.

In the Middle East, the escalation of violence and bloodshed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is taking a heavy toll on the civilian population.

Unilateral actions are increasing and are taking away the possibility of a two-state solution, the only possible path to lasting peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.

As for Syria, the country is still a field of ruins and peace remains distant.

Meanwhile, conflicts – man-made disasters – are made worse by natural disasters.

Faced with all these crises, the global humanitarian system is on the verge of collapse.

The needs are increasing.

And funding is drying up.

Our humanitarian operations are forced to resort to massive cuts.

But if we don’t give food to those who are hungry, we are fueling the conflict.

I urge all countries to step up and fully fund our Global Humanitarian Appeal.

Excellencies,

The peace and security architecture is under unprecedented pressure.

This is why, during the preparations for the Future Summit, we are proposing to Member States ideas within the framework of a New Agenda for Peace, based on the Charter and international law.

This New Agenda offers a unified vision to address the threats that already exist and those that are emerging in this world in transition.

What is needed is to call on States to renew their commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons and to halt the erosion of the nuclear disarmament and arms control regime;

Strengthen prevention on a global scale by leveraging as much as possible on the capacities and convening power of the UN and on our good offices to bridge geopolitical divides;

Strengthen prevention at the national level by linking actions carried out in favor of peace and progress made towards the Sustainable Development Goals;

Place women’s leadership and participation at the heart of decision-making processes and commit to eradicating all forms of violence against women;

Encourage broad reflection on peacekeeping, so that it is more flexible and more adaptable and that it provides, from the outset, forward-looking transition and exit strategies;

And support initiatives taken by regional organizations – notably the African Union – to enforce peace, through clear mandates from the Security Council and predictable funding.

The resolve for peace also requires new governance frameworks to address emerging threats – whether artificial intelligence or lethal autonomous weapons, which operate without human control.

Excellencies,

Peace is inextricably linked to sustainable development.

Throughout the world, it is the same paradigm that we observe: the closer a country gets to conflict, the further it moves away from the sustainable development goals.

Under the Charter, we must be determined to promote social progress. In the 21st century, this means working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

However, inequalities are the characteristic of our time.

Let’s think of these cities, where skyscrapers have an overlooking view of slums;

to these countries in the grip of a dilemma: serve their people or sacrifice them to service the debt.

Today, Africa spends more resources on repaying interest on its debt than on health.

Yesterday’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit was dedicated to adopting a global rescue plan, moving support from billions to trillions.

Excellencies,

The international financial architecture remains dysfunctional, outdated and unfair.

The far-reaching reforms that are necessary cannot be carried out overnight.

But we can take strong action now to help countries overcome crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and its dramatic consequences.

By urgently advancing the Sustainable Development Goals Recovery Plan by $500 billion per year and easing the financial burden on developing countries and emerging economies.

By increasing financing for development and climate action, raising the capital base and changing the business model of multilateral development banks.

By ensuring effective debt relief mechanisms and channeling emergency financial assistance to those who need it most.

Excellencies,

We must act with determination to tackle the threat that most directly compromises our future: global overheating.

Climate change is not just weather changes.

Climate change is disrupting what life itself is on our planet.

They alter every aspect of our work.

They kill human beings and devastate communities.

Across the world, thermometers are panicking, sea levels are rising faster, glaciers are retreating, deadly diseases are spreading, species are disappearing and cities are under threat.

And that’s just the beginning.

The days, months and summer we have just experienced have been the hottest on record.

And with each new temperature record, economies are destroyed, lives destroyed and entire nations move closer to the breaking point.

No continent, no region and no country in the world is spared from the climate emergency, but I am not sure that leaders all realize the urgency of the situation.

The measures taken are not at all up to the challenge.

There is still time to contain the rise in temperatures within the 1.5 degree limit set in the Paris Agreement.

But for this to happen, radical measures must be taken now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and guarantee climate justice for those who have contributed the least to the crisis, but who are paying the highest price.

The evidence is there.

G20 countries are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is up to them to lead by example.

They must move away from their dependence on fossil fuels, stop any new coal mining projects and heed the findings of the International Energy Agency that any new oil and gas mining licenses of gas is not compatible with the objective of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.

To have any chance of stemming global temperature rise, we must phase out coal, oil and gas in a fair and equitable process, and massively boost renewable energy.

This is the only possible way for everyone to have access to renewable energy at an affordable cost.

Unfortunately, many Africans still do not have access to electricity.

The era of fossil fuels is over.

If fossil fuel companies want to be part of the solution, they must be at the forefront of the transition to renewable energy.

We must put an end to polluting production, false solutions, and the financing of climate denial.

I proposed a Climate Solidarity Pact so that all major emitters redouble their efforts to reduce their emissions and that the richest countries support emerging economies by providing them with the financing and technologies they need on the path decarbonization.

For example, Africa is home to 60% of the world’s solar capacity, but it receives only 2% of renewable energy investments.

I proposed an Acceleration Program, to increase these efforts tenfold.

Developed countries must achieve net zero emissions by 2040, and emerging economies by 2050, in line with common but differentiated responsibilities.

Some steps need to be taken immediately:

We must end coal – by 2030 for OECD countries and 2040 for the rest of the world.

End subsidizing fossil fuels.

And put a price on carbon.

Developed countries must also commit $100 billion to climate action in developing countries, as they have promised.

They must double the amount of funding for adaptation by 2025, as they have again promised.

And they must replenish the resources of the Green Climate Fund, as they once again promised.

All countries must strive to make the loss and damage fund operational this year,

And guarantee universal coverage of early warning systems by 2027.

Tomorrow, I will welcome actors likely to move the lines at the Climate Ambition Summit.

COP28 is fast approaching.

Climate chaos is breaking new records. We cannot afford to repeat the habit of scapegoating or waiting for others to act first.

And all of you who spend generously, who demonstrate in the streets and who defend real climate action, I want you to know that you are on the right side of History. I am with you. I will not abandon this fight which is that of our lives.

Excellencies,

We must also be determined to honor the Charter’s commitment to fundamental human rights.

Only four women signed our founding document. A glance around this room shows that things have not changed enough.

“We the peoples” does not mean “We the men.”

Women still expect equal opportunities and salaries; equality before the law; the full valorization of their work and the taking into account of their opinions. 

Across the world, women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – are being reduced or even eliminated; their freedoms restricted.

In some countries, women and girls are punished for wearing too much clothing; in others, because they don’t carry enough.

Thanks to generations of women’s rights activists, times are changing. 

From sports fields to schools to public squares, girls and women are challenging the patriarchy – and triumphing. 

I am at their side.

I took office with a commitment to ensuring gender parity in the United Nations. 

We have achieved this at senior levels and are well on our way to doing so across the entire UN system. 

Because gender equality is not a problem. Gender equality is the solution. 

Equality is not a favor done to women, but a fundamental condition to ensure a better future for all.

Excellencies,

We must be determined to answer the Call to Action to put human rights at the heart of our work.

Seventy-five years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enormous progress has been made on some issues – from ending colonization and segregation to guaranteeing people’s right to vote. women.

But we have not achieved basic rights for all, when 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty and hunger reaches levels not seen since 2005.

When discrimination based on skin color and ethnic origin is perfectly legal in many countries.

When people must risk death to seek a better life.

When refugees, migrants and minorities are regularly hunted down and demonized.

When declaring your gender identity or simply who you love can lead to imprisonment or even execution.

When the very act of expressing yourself can have dangerous consequences.

Human rights – political, civil, economic, social and cultural – are the key to solving many interrelated global problems.

Laws to protect vulnerable people must be adopted and enforced; we must stop targeting minorities and we must place human rights and dignity at the heart of social, economic and migration policies.

All governments must respect the commitments they made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Excellencies,

We must also confront the imminent threats that new technologies pose to human rights.

Generative artificial intelligence, although full of promise, risks making us cross the Rubicon and exposing us to dangers that we would be powerless to face.

When I mentioned artificial intelligence in my speech to the General Assembly in 2017, only two other leaders mentioned the term.

Today, artificial intelligence is on everyone’s lips, arousing both fascination and fear.

Even some of the designers of generative artificial intelligence are calling for greater regulation.

However, many of the dangers linked to digital technologies are not imminent.

They are already there.

The digital divide worsens inequalities.

Hate speech, misinformation and conspiracy theories on social media are spread and amplified by artificial intelligence, undermining democracy and fueling violence and conflict in the real world.

Online surveillance and data collection results in massive human rights violations.

Tech companies and governments are far from finding solutions.

We must act quickly and repair the damage.

New technologies require new and innovative forms of governance, to which the creators of these technologies and the stakeholders responsible for monitoring violations must contribute.

We urgently need a global digital compact that would engage governments, regional organizations, the private sector and civil society to mitigate the risks associated with digital technologies and identify ways to put the strengths of these tools to work. of humanity.

It was also requested that consideration be given to the possibility of creating a new global entity on artificial intelligence, which could serve as a source of information and expertise for Member States.

There are many different models, inspired in particular by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The United Nations stands ready to host the necessary global and inclusive discussions, as Member States decide.

To advance the search for concrete solutions in governance, I will establish this month a high-level advisory body on artificial intelligence, which will be responsible for formulating recommendations by the end of the year .

Next year’s Future Summit is a unique opportunity to make progress in the fight against these new threats, in accordance with the vision set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

Member States will decide what to do next on the New Agenda for Peace, the Global Digital Compact, reforms to the international financial architecture and many other proposals to address challenges and further anchor global governance in justice and equity.

Excellencies,

The UN was created precisely for times like today, when dangers are at their peak and the level of consensus is at its lowest.

We can and must use the tools at our disposal with flexibility and creativity.

Last month, our determination bore fruit off the coast of Yemen.

The FSO Safer, a decaying supertanker loaded with a million barrels of oil, was a ticking time bomb and sparked fears of an imminent ecological catastrophe in the Red Sea.

But no one offered a solution.

The UN then took the lead and brought together the international community.

We mobilized resources, assembled experts, facilitated difficult negotiations and built trust.

We still have much to do, and more resources are needed.

But last month, the Safer’s oil cargo was successfully transshipped.

This UN-led effort saved the Red Sea.

When no one else had the capacity or the will, the determination of the United Nations made it possible to accomplish this task.

Despite the long list of global problems, this same spirit of determination can guide our future action.

Let us be determined to overcome divisions and build peace.

Resolved to defend the dignity and value of each person.

Determined to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and truly leave no one behind.

Determined to reform multilateralism in the 21st century and to join forces to act for the common good.

Thank you.