The Hungarian diplomat also pointed out that while ‘more manageable’, the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, along with acute food insecurity, soaring energy prices, record inflation and global supply chain disruptions.
“This ominous reality calls all of us to unite around the issue of disarmament”, he noted.
Mr. Kőrösi also committed to engaging meaningfully with civil society partners, academics, the private sector as well as researchers and practitioners to lend solutions that are rooted in facts, verified information and science.
Mr. Guterres told delegates at the General Assembly that the world is looking at them to use all the tools at their disposal to negotiate, form consensus and offer solutions.
Mr. Kőrösi also warned that conflicts will worsen as our planet heats up and its natural resources grow more scarce.
No ‘business as usual’
The UN chief closed his speech highlighting that the 77th General Assembly Session must be a moment of transformation, “for people and planet alike”.
The new president added that the risk of use of nuclear weapons is now higher than in the past 40 years.
Acknowledging that the world faces uncertainty and widening geopolitical fissures, Csaba Kőrösi reminded delegates that the United Nations was created out of the ashes of war and destruction, with the intention of being “a well of solutions”.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, was the second to speak during today’s General Assembly session.
Science as a guide
“Debate. Deliberation. Diplomacy. These eternal tools represent the best pathway to a better, more peaceful world”, he underscored.
“This war must be stopped. It kills people, it kills development, it kills nature and kills dreams of millions”, he emphasised.
The new General Assembly president highlighted that his tenure would push “solutions through solidarity, sustainability and science”, enhancing the role of science in the UN body’s decision shaping.
“Responding to humanity’s most pressing challenges demands that we work together, and that we reinvigorate inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism and focus on that what unites us”, he said.
“The water crisis is poised to become our next greatest threat. Recent weeks have seen record-setting temperatures, raging fires and devastating floods. It looks as if Mother Nature is fighting back”, he said, further underscoring that the world cannot go back to ‘business as usual’ after COVID-19.
“I will work to foster measurable progress in the sustainability transformation – and cultivate the solidarity we need to achieve breakthroughs or to avert future disasters. Taking stock of the Sustainable Development Goals is simply not enough. We need to have more science by our side if we want to realize the Goals by 2030”, he said.
He congratulated Mr. Kőrösi and underscored that unfortunately, the challenges that defined the 76th session, are still present.
© UNICEF/Anton Skyba for The Globe and Mail