GA / GENERAL DEBATE OPENING

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21-Sep-2021 00:05:33
At the opening of the UN General Assembly’s General Debate, UN Secretary-General António Guterres sounded the alarm as the world is “on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction” adding that now was the time to “restore trust” and “inspire hope.” UNIFEED

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STORY: GA / GENERAL DEBATE OPENING
TRT: 5:33
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 21 SEPTEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE- NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN flag outside headquarters

21 SEPTEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, General Assembly Hall
3. Wide shot, Guterres walking to podium
4. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“I am here to sound the alarm: The world must wake up. We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction. Our world has never been more threatened. Or more divided. We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic has supersized glaring inequalities. The climate crisis is pummeling the planet. Upheaval from Afghanistan to Ethiopia to Yemen and beyond has thwarted peace. A surge of mistrust and misinformation is polarizing people and paralyzing societies. Human rights are under fire. Science is under assault. And economic lifelines for the most vulnerable are coming too little and too late — if they come at all. Solidarity is missing in action — just when we need it most.”
5. Wide shot, Guterres addressing General Assembly
6. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test. But we are getting an F in Ethics.”
7. Wide shot, Guterres addressing General Assembly
8. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We are weeks away from the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, but seemingly light years away from reaching our targets. We must get serious. And we must act fast.”
9. Pan left, leaders and delegations in General Assembly Hall
10. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We face a moment of truth. Now is the time to deliver. Now is the time to restore trust. Now is the time to inspire hope. And I do have hope. The problems we have created are problems we can solve. Humanity has shown that we are capable of great things when we work together. That is the raison d’être of our United Nations.”
11. Close up, Guterres addressing General Assembly
12. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Yet I fear our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial, and technology rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence — and ultimately two different military and geo-political strategies. This is a recipe for trouble. It would be far less predictable than the Cold War. To restore trust and inspire hope, we need cooperation. We need dialogue. We need understanding.”
13. Wide shot, leaders and delegations in General Assembly Hall
14. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“This is a planetary emergency. We need coalitions of solidarity -- between countries that still depend heavily on coal, and countries that have the financial and technical resources to support their transition. We have the opportunity and obligation to act.”
15. Wide shot, General Assembly Hall
16. SOUNDBITE (French) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Bridging the gender divide is not only a matter of justice for women and girls. It’s a game-changer for humanity. Societies with more equal representation are more stable and peaceful. They have better health systems and more vibrant economies. Women’s equality is essentially a question of power. We must urgently transform our male-dominated world and shift the balance of power, to solve the most challenging problems of our age.”
17. Wide shot, General Assembly Hall
18. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Interdependence is the logic of the 21st century. And it is the lodestar of the United Nations. This is our time. A moment for transformation. An era to re-ignite multilateralism. An age of possibilities. Let us restore trust. Let us inspire hope. And let us start right now.”
19. Wide shot, President of the General Assembly walking to podium
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, United Nations:
“My friends, there are moments in time that are turning points. And this is one such moment. We can choose a path of isolationism, of mutual destruction, of a slow retreat of the human experiment, or we can forge together a new path, a sustainable and resilient path that changes the future of our planet.”
21. Wide shot, Shahid addressing General Assembly
22. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, United Nations:
“For the seven plus billion constituents around the world, this is what they see when they think of the United Nations – iconic world leaders standing before a marble green backdrop debating, not whether to help, but how to help. Let us not let them down. We have never been so technologically advanced. We have never been so connected. We have never had the wealth, the resources, or the know-how that we have now. There is nothing in our path to stop us but ourselves. Let us be the UN that people want us to be.”

STORYLINE:

At the opening of the UN General Assembly’s General Debate, UN Secretary-General António Guterres sounded the alarm as the world is “on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction” adding that now was the time to “restore trust” and “inspire hope.”

In his address to the General Assembly today (21 Sep), Guterres said, “Our world has never been more threatened. Or more divided. We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic has supersized glaring inequalities. The climate crisis is pummeling the planet. Upheaval from Afghanistan to Ethiopia to Yemen and beyond has thwarted peace. A surge of mistrust and misinformation is polarizing people and paralyzing societies. Human rights are under fire. Science is under assault. And economic lifelines for the most vulnerable are coming too little and too late — if they come at all. Solidarity is missing in action — just when we need it most.”

The Secretary-General said images of expired and unused COVID-19 vaccines are indicative of our times. He said while over 90 per cent of Africans are stilling waiting for their first dose, the majority of the wealthier world is vaccinated. He added, “This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test. But we are getting an F in Ethics.”

The UN chief said climate alarms are also ringing, with warning signs emerging in every continent and region. He said, “We are weeks away from the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, but seemingly light years away from reaching our targets. We must get serious. And we must act fast.”

Guterres said COVID-19 and the climate crisis have exposed the profound fragilities of societies and the planet and mistrust is widely spreading. He stressed that people are not only losing faith in their governments and institutions, but in the values of peace, human rights, dignity for all, equality, justice, and solidarity. He said, “We face a moment of truth. Now is the time to deliver. Now is the time to restore trust. Now is the time to inspire hope. And I do have hope. The problems we have created are problems we can solve. Humanity has shown that we are capable of great things when we work together. That is the raison d’être of our United Nations.”

The Secretary-General said geopolitical divisions are undermining international cooperation and limiting the capacity of the Security Council to take the necessary decisions. He said it is also impossible to address dramatic economic and development challenges while the world’s two largest economies are at odds with each other.

He added, “Yet I fear our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial, and technology rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence — and ultimately two different military and geo-political strategies. This is a recipe for trouble. It would be far less predictable than the Cold War. To restore trust and inspire hope, we need cooperation. We need dialogue. We need understanding.”

Guterres said the multilateral system is too limited in its instruments and capacities, in relation to what is needed for effective governance of managing global public goods. He added that his report on ‘Our Common Agenda’ provides a 360-degree analysis of the state of the world, with 90 specific recommendations that take on the challenges of today and strengthen multilateralism for tomorrow.

The UN chief said there were six ‘Great Divides’ that must be bridged. These include: the peace divide, the climate divide, the gap between the rich and the poor – both within and among countries, the gender divide, the digital divide, and the divide among generations.

Guterres said more ambitions on climate change were needed by all countries in mitigation, finance, and adaptation. He called on every member state to do their part and not wait for others.

He said, “This is a planetary emergency. We need coalitions of solidarity -- between countries that still depend heavily on coal, and countries that have the financial and technical resources to support their transition. We have the opportunity and obligation to act.”

The Secretary-General underscored that COVID-19 also exposed and amplified the world’s most enduring injustice: the power imbalance between men and women. He said, “Bridging the gender divide is not only a matter of justice for women and girls. It’s a game-changer for humanity. Societies with more equal representation are more stable and peaceful. They have better health systems and more vibrant economies. Women’s equality is essentially a question of power. We must urgently transform our male-dominated world and shift the balance of power, to solve the most challenging problems of our age.”

Guterres stressed that interdependence is the “logic of the 21st century” and the "lodestar” of the United Nations. He added, “This is our time. A moment for transformation. An era to re-ignite multilateralism. An age of possibilities. Let us restore trust. Let us inspire hope. And let us start right now.”

General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid said while the world faces many challenges, there have been some remarkable achievements over the past two years. He said humanity has developed multiple viable vaccines for COVID-19 in record time, and the largest vaccine roll-out in the history of humankind is currently underway. He noted that, while certainly not without flaws, it is monumental in its undertaking.

Shahid said the world just wants peace of mind and people want solutions to the challenges faced, including fragility, conflict, COVID-19 and climate change among others.

Addressing world leaders, the President of the General Assembly said, “There are moments in time that are turning points. And this is one such moment. We can choose a path of isolationism, of mutual destruction, of a slow retreat of the human experiment, or we can forge together a new path, a sustainable and resilient path that changes the future of our planet.”

Shahid said COVID-19 may have been a tragedy of the grandest scale, but it may also have been a canary in the coal mine, warning of the perils the world faces if it continues to drag its feet, to avoid making the hard but necessary choices.

He said, “For the seven plus billion constituents around the world, this is what they see when they think of the United Nations – iconic world leaders standing before a marble green backdrop debating, not whether to help, but how to help. Let us not let them down. We have never been so technologically advanced. We have never been so connected. We have never had the wealth, the resources, or the know-how that we have now. There is nothing in our path to stop us but ourselves. Let us be the UN that people want us to be.”
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