UN chief issues 'red alert,' urges world to come together in 2018 to tackle pressing challenges

Secretary-General António Guterres (left) meets people living in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) known as "Site du Petit Seminaire St. Pierre Claver", in the town of Bangassou. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

31 December 2017 – In his message on the New Year, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for unity among the global community to tackle overwhelming challenges and defend values shared by all.

“On New Year's Day 2018, I am not issuing an appeal. I am issuing an alert – a red alert for our world,” said the Secretary-General.

“As we begin 2018, I call for unity. […] We can settle conflicts, overcome hatred and defend shared values. But we can only do that together,” he expressed.

Recalling that last year he urged that 2017 be a year for peace, the UN chief noted that unfortunately – in fundamental ways, the world went in reverse.

Perils, including deepening conflicts and new dangers emerged, and global concerns over nuclear weapons reached the highest since the Cold War, he added.

At the same time, impacts of climate change worsened at an alarming rate, inequalities grew and there were horrific violations of human rights.

“Nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise,” said Mr. Guterres.

Underscoring his belief that the world can be made more safe and secure, conflicts can be settled, hatred can be overcome and shared values defended, he emphasized that unity is indispensable to achieving these goals.

“Unity is the path. Our future depends on it,” said the Secretary-General, urging leaders everywhere to resolve in the New Year to: “Narrow the gaps. Bridge the divides. Rebuild trust by bringing people together around common goals.”

VIDEO: Message by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of the 2018 New Year.


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