GENEVA - In his New Year's message, U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres urges international cooperation to resolve the many dangers and divisions facing humanity.
As Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres carries the burdens of the world upon his shoulders. At the same time, he is expected to be the world's cheer-leader-in-chief, reassuring nations that solutions to the world's many problems are available.
He does not disappoint in either category. On the one hand, he wishes the world a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year. On the other hand, he issues a stark warning about the many crises and risks threatening global stability and security.
Chief among these is climate change, which he says is moving faster than it can be controlled. But Guterres does not throw up his hands in despair. Rather, he notes work is moving ahead, albeit slowly, to confront this danger.
"The United Nations was able to bring countries together in Katowice to approve the Work Program for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change," Guterres said. "Now we need to increase ambition to beat this existential threat. It is time to seize our last best chance. It is time to stop uncontrolled and spiraling climate change."
Guterres warns geo-political divisions are deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve. He says inequality is growing with only a handful of people owning most of the world's wealth. He notes intolerance is on the rise.
Despite this grim picture, he sees reasons for hope. The U.N. chief finds chances for peace in Yemen and South Sudan are better than ever. He says a recently signed agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea is easing tensions between the two countries.
He says these and other hopeful developments show when international cooperation works, the world wins.