During his keynote speech at the 78th UN General Assembly, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued an urgent wake-up call, emphasizing the need to reform multilateral institutions in a world that, in his words, “he is getting unhinged.”
Guterres warned that if these institutions do not adapt to the realities of today’s world, they risk becoming part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
The Secretary-General pointed to an example of the challenges facing the world, referring to the Libyan city of Derna, which was recently devastated by flooding caused by a gigantic storm and the bursting of two dams. Thousands of lives were lost in this tragedy, and Guterres highlighted that this situation is a sad paradigm of inequality, injustice and the inability to address current challenges.
Guterres also emphasized that the world faces multiple existential threats, from the climate crisis to disruptive technologies, at a time of geopolitical transition from unipolarity to multipolarity.
“Despite these challenges, multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods system, continue to reflect the political and economic realities of 1945, creating stagnation in global governance,” said Guterres.
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The Secretary-General called for a renewal of these multilateral institutions based on the economic and political realities of the 21st century, rooted in equity, solidarity and universality. He stressed that reforms must start with the Security Council and address the international financial architecture, including multilateral development banks, so that they are truly universal and can serve as a safety net for developing countries.
Despite the complexities and competing interests surrounding the reforms, Guterres emphasized that the alternative to the reform process is not the status quo, but rather greater fragmentation.
He concluded his speech by recalling that the main mission of the UN is to preserve peace, but he regretted the escalation of conflicts and human rights violations around the world, and highlighted the need for the international community to act decisively to address these challenges and move towards sustainable development.
He is a student at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. She is a member of the Research Seedbed of said Faculty and the Study Group on India and Southeast Asia of the National University of Rosario. She also completed the Diploma in Law and Digital State 4.0. She is an intern at SHEN, a business consultant with Asia and an editor at ReporteAsia.