Secretary-General highlights central role of UN in first address to staff

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António Guterres (second from left), the new United Nations Secretary-General, addressed staff members gathered to welcome him. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Only global solutions can address global problems, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told staff in New York on Tuesday.

The New Year saw the former Portuguese Prime Minister and head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) taking the reins of the world body: the ninth Secretary-General in its 71-year history.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Guterres provided an overview of global developments in recent years, such as technological progress and improved social welfare.

But he pointed out that there has also been a rise in inequality and exclusion which fuel conflict and instability.

"When one looks at the global megatrends from population growth to climate change and to other aspects that are interlinked, we see that we live in a world where the problems became global and there is no way they can be solved on a country-by-country basis. And so, this is the moment in which we need to assert the value of multilateralism. This is the moment in which we need to recognise and only global solutions can address global problems, and that the UN is the cornerstone of that multilateral approach."

Mr Guterres noted, however, that many people do not share his view, as evidenced by resistance to the UN in some parts of the world, as well as scepticism over its role today.

He stressed that it was important for staff to be proud of the UN's achievements while also recognizing its shortcomings and failures.

Duration: 1’11″

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