The war in Ukraine, climate disasters, food insecurity… In a world besieged by crises, the leaders of the planet have been facing profound differences on the stage of the United Nations General Assembly since Tuesday.
For almost a week, approximately 150 heads of state and government from around the world will speak at this annual diplomatic high mass, which will resume in person after two years interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditionally, this first day gives pride of place to the speech of the US president, who, as the leader of the country where the UN headquarters is located, speaks first. But exceptionally – as in very rare cases in the past – this will not be the case: Joe Biden, who was at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, postponed his intervention until Wednesday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be there to deliver an opening speech at this 77th General Assembly, which “will not destroy things”, his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric promised, referring to the world’s table “set, real and focused on solutions”. “where geopolitical differences threaten us all”.
“We meet at a time of great danger for the world,” Antonio Guterres said on Monday, listing “conflicts and climate disasters”, “distrust and division”, “poverty, inequality and discrimination”.
On the danger side, the focus of this high-level diplomatic week will be Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Wednesday’s intervention by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — via video thanks to a special mandate voted by member states last week — and the Foreign Ministerial-level Security Council on Thursday.
However, the South is increasingly bothered by the fact that people from the West are focusing their attention on Ukraine.
“We don’t just want to talk about ending the conflict in Ukraine. We want the conflicts to end in Tigray, we want the conflicts to end in Syria, we want the conflicts to end wherever the nose turns. Around the world,” Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley she said on Monday during an opening day focused on education and development goals.
In an attempt to respond to the concerns of some countries, the Americans and Europeans are organizing a high-level meeting on Tuesday on food security, which is a consequence of this war, which the whole planet is suffering.
And French President Emmanuel Macron, who will be on stage on Tuesday in the middle of the day, will insist on the need to prevent “fragmentation” between the countries of the North and the South, he said in the Elysee Palace, specifying that the Head of State will organize a dinner on this topic with several other leaders.
This tension caused by the war in Ukraine is a reflection of the resentment of the North and the South in the fight against climate change.
Poor countries on the front lines of the devastating effects of global warming, for which they are not responsible, are particularly fighting for rich countries to finally honor their promises of financial aid.
Two months before the UN climate conference COP27 in Egypt, it would be surprising if this climate crisis was not at the forefront of the speech of Antonio Guterres, who fought for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, especially of fossil fuel producers, which is one of his priorities. .
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz must also succeed on the stage on Tuesday.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also in New York this week for his first General Assembly, and the nuclear issue could once again become a focus of discussion.
Although negotiations to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are officially underway in Vienna, the French foreign minister, for example, has not ruled out a meeting between Presidents Macron and Raïssi.
However, this high-profile week has several notable absences, notably Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.