The United Nations General Assembly got underway Tuesday. The video above shows clips from remarks made at the General Assembly from U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and President Joe Biden
It comes amid two major worldwide crises: The Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
“COVID and the climate crisis have exposed profound fragilities of societies and as a planet, yet instead of humility in the face of these epic challenges, we see hubris instead of the passive solidarity,” Secretary-General Guterres said. “We are on a dead end to destruction.”
The crises weren’t the only issues Guterres warned about in his opening remarks. “Another disease is spreading in our world today,” Guterres said. “A melody of mistrust when people see promises of progress denied by the realities of their harsh daily lives, when they see their fundamental rights and freedoms curtailed, when they see petty as well as grand corruption around them, when they see billionaires joy riding to space while millions go hungry on Earth.”
Guterres urged world leaders to bridge six “great divides”: promote peace and end conflicts, restore trust between the richer north and developing south on tackling global warming, reduce wealth inequality, promote gender equality, cut the number of people who don’t have internet access in half by 2030, and give young people “a seat at the table.”
It is President Biden’s first General Assembly as president. “We’re back at the table in international forums, especially the United Nations, to focus attention and to spur global action on shared challenges,” Biden said in his General Assembly remarks.
The president pledged to double U.S. financial aid to poorer countries to help them switch to cleaner energy, from $5.7 billion per year to $11.4 billion per year. That $5.7 billion number was the result of a doubling just five months ago.
Biden also alluded to America’s relationship with China in his General Assembly remarks, without mentioning them by name. “We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks,” Biden said. “The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues a peaceful resolution to share challenges, even if we have intense disagreements in other areas, because we’ll all suffer the consequences of our failure.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver a video address to the General Assembly.