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Davos 2023: UN Chief Warns The World Can't Wait

By: George Baumgarten

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stood before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and addressed himself to the daunting challenges of today’s world.

Among the challenges Cited by Guterres were chain disruptions, soaring prices, rising interest rates and the lingering effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic—factors that combine to produce the socio-economic effect of a Category 5 hurricane.

Greenhouse gas emissions are clearly going in the wrong direction. Rather than limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the world seems headed for a 2.8-degree figure. And those in the Big Tobacco and Big Oil industries who peddled their very own “Big Lie” must be held to account. They are still racing to expand production.

This scenario looks like one out of science fiction…but is in truth one of cold, hard dangerous fact. And these “inter-linked challenges” are piling up on one another, “like cars in a chain-reaction crash”.

The world’s two largest economies, said the Secretary-General, have broken into a great “East-West Divide”, which he calls the “Great Fracture”. And that Fracture is the very last thing that the world needs. And further, the North-South Divide is deepening. And this has led to a growing anger

in the Global South.

This anger has manifested itself in—among other ways, gross inequities in vaccine distribution.

And those very developing countries could not just print money—for fears that their economies would just go down the drain.

The world must “change this business model”, by restoring fairness to the global economic system, a new debt architecture.

The first priority must be the fight for the 1.5-degree limit, which must be fought and won in this decade. The world must end its dependence on fossil fuels, as well as the “self-defeating war on nature”. The G-20 countries must lead the fight for the 1.5-degree limit in the 2020’s. Therefore, there must be unity around a Climate Solidarity Pact.

Guterres called for an Expert Group on Net-Zero Emissions Commitments, and for concerted actions based upon those commitments.

These commitments must include those for equal opportunity for women...and vaccine equity...and global food security.

While the Secretary-General said that there are “no perfect solutions in a perfect storm”, we must use multilateral institutions to achieve common solutions in a fragmented world. We must do this…because the world cannot wait.

George Baumgarten is a UN Correspondent and contributor to Jewish Newspapers in North America © Copyright 2023 George Alan Baumgarten


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