United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the world is at a “breaking point” and calls for a new model for global governance to tackle inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Delivering the annual Nelson Mandela lecture online on Saturday, Guterres said the pandemic “has been likened to an X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built”.
“It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all; the fiction that unpaid care work is not work; the delusion that we live in a post-racist world; the myth that we are all in the same boat,” the UN chief said.
He outlined the main drivers of inequality including systemic racism, the legacy of colonialism, patriarchy, gaps in access to technology, and inequalities in global governance.
“The nations that came out on top 70 years ago have refused to contemplate the reforms needed to change power relations in international institutions,” Guterres said in his blunt speech, pointing to the voting rights in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), where the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and the United States have veto powers.
Guterres said the response to the pandemic “must be based on a new social contract and a new global deal that create equal opportunities for all and respect the rights and freedoms of all”.
The new model would ensure inclusive and equal participation in global institutions, fair globalisation, a stronger voice for the developing world in global decision-making, and a more inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system, he said.
He said developed countries are strongly invested in their own survival and have “failed to deliver the support needed to help the developing world through these dangerous times”.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 14 million people and there have been nearly 600,000 known deaths worldwide. The UN has appealed for $10.3bn to help poor states, but has received only $1.7bn.
Guterres’s address marked what would have been the birthday of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mandela.
South Africa, the world’s most unequal country a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid, is quickly becoming one of the world’s hardest-hit nations in the pandemic and now makes up roughly half of Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases. Already, its public hospitals are nearly overwhelmed.
The speech by the UN chief took aim at the vast inequality of wealth – the 26 richest people in the world hold as much wealth as half the global population, Guterres said.
The legacy of colonialism still reverberates, Guterres added, and it shows in global power relations.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks alongside WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in February [Salvatore Di Nolfi via Reuters]
Developing countries, and especially African nations, are underrepresented at the levels of power including at financial institutions such as the World Bank and political ones like the UNSC.
“The nations that came out on top more than seven decades ago have refused to contemplate the reforms needed to change power relations in international institutions,” Guterres said. “The composition and voting rights in the United Nations Security Council and the boards of the Bretton Woods system are a case in point.
“Inequality starts at the top: in global institutions. Addressing must start by reforming them,” Guterres said.
‘Pay their fair share’
A new generation of social protection is needed, including universal health coverage and perhaps a universal basic income, he said, adding “individuals and corporations must pay their fair share”.
Education spending in low and middle-income countries should more than double by 2030 to $3 trillion a year, he said. In the face of enormous shifts from climate change, governments should tax carbon instead of people.
Answering questions after his speech, Guterres called for “massive support” for the developing world including debt write-offs. He said the suspension of debt payments until the end of this year, which was agreed upon by the G20, the world’s 20 major economic powers, “is clearly not enough”.
And he noted, without naming names, that “leadership and power are not always aligned”.
“Let’s face facts,” Guterres said in his address. “The global political and economic system is not delivering on critical global public goods: public health, climate action, sustainable development, peace.”
Guterres concluded: “Now is the time for global leaders to decide: Will we succumb to chaos, division and inequality? Or will we right the wrongs of the past and move forward together for the good of all?”
NATO chief: ‘Proof beyond doubt’ Navalny poisoned with Novichok |NationalTribune.com
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was “proof beyond doubt” that Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent amid a widening rift between Western powers and Russia over the suspected attack on the Kremlin critic. Stoltenberg’s comments on Friday were in line with statements by Berlin earlier in the week, with a special German military laboratory claiming…
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was “proof beyond doubt” that Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent amid a widening rift between Western powers and Russia over the suspected attack on the Kremlin critic.
Stoltenberg’s comments on Friday were in line with statements by Berlin earlier in the week, with a special German military laboratory claiming to have proof a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group was used.
Navalny, 44, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight returning to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.
He was later transferred to Berlin’s Charite hospital, where doctors last week said there were indications he had been poisoned.
He remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator, but his condition is reportedly improving.
The Russian doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia have repeatedly contested the German hospital’s conclusion, saying they ruled out poisoning as a diagnosis and their tests for poisonous substances came back negative.
NATO allies agreed on Friday that Russia must cooperate fully with an impartial investigation to be led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into the poisoning of Navalny, the alliance’s chief said.
“Any use of chemical weapons shows a total disrespect for human lives, and is an unacceptable breach of international norms and rules,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
“NATO allies agree that Russia now has serious questions it must answer, the Russian government must fully cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on an impartial international investigation,” he said, reporting back from a meeting of the alliance’s ambassadors.
Earlier, Russia’s Investigative Committee asked one of its regional branches in Siberia to probe the possibility that someone tried to murder Navalny.
But overall, the Kremlin has rejected any suggestion that Russia was responsible and has not opened a criminal case, citing a lack of evidence.
A Moscow court on Friday dismissed a complaint brought by Navalny’s legal team over the inaction of the Russian Investigative Committee, as Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said he saw no grounds, for now, to suspect a crime was committed.
Pakistan army chief to visit Saudi Arabia in quest to smooth ties |NationalTribune.com
Pakistan’s army chief will visit Saudi Arabia this weekend, officials said, seeking to calm diplomatic strains over Kashmir as financial support for Islamabad hangs in the balance. The two countries are traditionally close and Saudi Arabia in 2018 gave Pakistan a $3bn loan and $3.2bn oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis.…
Pakistan’s army chief will visit Saudi Arabia this weekend, officials said, seeking to calm diplomatic strains over Kashmir as financial support for Islamabad hangs in the balance.
The two countries are traditionally close and Saudi Arabia in 2018 gave Pakistan a $3bn loan and $3.2bn oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis.
But Riyadh is irked by criticism from Pakistan that Saudi Arabia has been lukewarm on the Kashmir territorial dispute, two senior military officials told the Reuters news agency, motivating General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s planned fence-building visit on Sunday.
“Yes he is travelling,” Pakistan army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told Reuters, though the official line was that the visit was preplanned and “primarily military affairs oriented”.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in full.
Pakistan has long pressed the Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting to highlight alleged Indian violations in the part it controls.
But the OIC has only held low-level meetings so far.
“If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told local media last week.
Money at stake
Last year, Islamabad had pulled out of a Muslim nations forum at the last minute on insistence by Riyadh, which saw the gathering as an attempt to challenge its leadership of the OIC.
Qureshi’s remarks have revived Riyadh’s anger, one of the Pakistani military officials and a government adviser said.
Saudia Arabia had already made Pakistan pay back $1bn two weeks ago, forcing it to borrow from another close ally, China, and Riyadh is yet to respond to Pakistan’s request to extend the oil credit facility.
“The first year (of the oil credit facility) completed on 9th July 2020. Our request for an extension in the arrangement is under consideration with the Saudi side,” a Pakistani finance ministry official told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia is also asking for another $1bn back, officials at Pakistan’s finance ministry and one of the military officers said. The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pakistanis account for more than a quarter of the 10 million expatriates working in Saudi Arabia.
Pakistani leader Khan is also seeking to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran, after attacks on Gulf oil interests that Washington blamed on Tehran, though he said recently that was progressing slowly.
Chad Wolf, acting DHS chief: We will be in Portland until we’re sure courthouse is secure
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday said DHS agents will be in Portland until they can be sure that things aren’t going to spiral out of control. He said there was little or no criminal activity overnight and that he’s glad Oregon and Portland have “finally stepped up to the challenge.” “We are…
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday said DHS agents will be in Portland until they can be sure that things aren’t going to spiral out of control.
He said there was little or no criminal activity overnight and that he’s glad Oregon and Portland have “finally stepped up to the challenge.”
“We are going to remain there until we are assured that that courthouse is safe and secure,” Mr. Wolf said on “Fox & Friends.”
Earlier this week, DHS and Oregon struck a deal where state police would help protect federal buildings in Portland and homeland security officials would leave once peace is restored.
“We’ve been asking for 60 days for Portland police or Oregon police to do their job and for whatever reason, it took 60 days,” Mr. Wolf said. “It took my law enforcement officers’ 245 injuries, over 90 arrests for them to step up and do their job.”
“I’m glad they’re here; I’m glad they’re partnering with us,” he said. “We can hopefully bring this to a very peaceful conclusion very quickly.”
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