UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief is going globetrotting to four major meetings before the biggest meeting of all – the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly starting Sept. 18.
Secretary-General António Guterres heads first to Nairobi on Saturday for the Africa Climate Summit on Sept. 4-5, then to Jakarta for a U.N. summit with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN on Sept. 6-7.
From there, he flies to New Delhi for the G20 summit of the world’s 20 major economies on Sept. 8-10 and then briefly returns to New York before heading to Havana for the summit of the G77 — a coalition of some 134 developing countries and China — on Sept. 14-15.
He will arrive back in New York just before the General Assembly’s high-level week begins, where the war in Ukraine is expected to dominate the annual meeting for a second year.
A very high number of heads of state and government — nearly 150 — are scheduled to attend this year’s gathering of world leaders.
Albania’s U.N. Ambassador Ferit Hoxha, this month’s president of the U.N. Security Council, told reporters Friday he could “almost confirm” that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the global gathering in person for the first time, and speak at a council meeting on Sept. 20 on upholding the U.N. Charter in Ukraine.
The high-level week starts with a summit to spur global action on the U.N.’s badly lagging development goals for 2030 on Sept. 18, a day ahead of the official opening of the General Debate — the official name of the world leaders' annual meeting.
It begins on Sept. 19 with Guterres’ annual report on the state of the world, and speaking to reporters Thursday he gave a preview of his concerns.
The secretary-general said the multiplicity of summits “reflects the growing multipolarity of our world.” But he stressed that having different power centers “does not guarantee peace and security.”
On the contrary, Guterres said, without strong global institutions “multipolarity could be a factor for escalating geostrategic tensions, with tragic consequences.”
Guterres said he will be delivering the same message to all the meetings he attends this month: Reforms are essential “to bring our outdated multilateral institutions and frameworks in line with the economic and political realities of today’s world, based on equity and solidarity.”
As one example, Guterres has been campaigning for years to reform the international financial architecture so that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank reflect “the power and economic relations of today’s world” not the ones of post-World War II when they were established.
At the Africa Climate Summit, the U.N. chief said he will address “two burning injustices of the climate crisis.”
First, African countries have contributed almost nothing to global warming “and yet they are on the frontlines of today’s super-charged storms, droughts and floods,” Guterres said. Secondly, while Africa has abundant solar, wind, hydro power and critical minerals, its governments face high levels of debt and interest rates that impede their investments in renewable energy.
“We need global efforts to put Africa at the forefront of the renewables revolution,” he said.
At the ASEAN summit in Jakarta, Guterres said he will be promoting the organization as a bridge-builder between east and west as well as its five-point plan and efforts to engage all parties in the Myanmar conflict sparked by the Feb. 1, 2021 military coup that ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
At the G20 summit in New Delhi, the secretary-general said he will tell the planet’s biggest emitters that “as climate chaos gathers pace, the world is looking to them” to accelerate their emissions reductions and support countries now paying the price for decades of heating caused by fossil fuels.
At the final summit in Havana of the G77, Guterres said he will focus on getting the 2030 U.N. development goals back on track, including ending extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring every child has a quality secondary education and achieving gender equality.
Looking ahead to the annual U.N. meeting of global leaders, Guterres stressed the importance of diplomacy “to navigate the tensions of our emerging multipolar world.”
“Dialogue remains the only way to find joint approaches and common solutions to the global threats and challenges that we face,” he said.