To listen click here
Sep 15 – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has paid “tribute” to India’s G20 leadership for achieving consensus at the Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi last week and elevating the Global South’s voice.
“I should pay tribute to the Indian presidency. The Indian presidency did its best in order to have the South’s voice represented and did its best to put development agenda in the centre of the discussions of the G20,” he said on Wednesday.
“Then, of course, the conclusions are what they are. It depends on what countries are ready to accept. But I think that effort needs to be underlined.”
The G20 agreement text did not include two important measures championed by Guterres: action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and phase out fossil fuels, and an annual fund of at least $500 billion to support the UN’s multifaceted Sustainable Development Goals.
However, the UN Secretary-General appeared to agree that this was the price of consensus.
“The simple fact of having a consensus means that there was a compromise, and compromise is something that is essential in these times,” he remarked of reaching an agreement in a strongly divided forum.
Guterres remarked in his opening remarks at a news conference before of the high-level General Assembly session, “Effective leadership is compromise.”
He discussed the rising multipolar world, saying that while “multipolarity can be a factor of equilibrium,” it can also lead to “escalating tensions, fragmentation, and worse.”
Therefore, he said, “it is time for compromise for a better tomorrow. Politics is compromise. Diplomacy is compromise”.
“Today’s multilateral institutions that were created after the Second World War reflect the power and economic dynamics of that time, and so, they need reform.
“To bring our multipolar world together, we need strong, reformed multilateral institutions, anchored in the UN Charter and international law. I know reform is fundamentally about power – and there are obviously many competing interests and agendas in our increasingly multipolar world,” Guterres added.
“But at a time when our challenges are more connected than ever, the outcome of a zero-sum game is that everyone gets zero.”
The Secretary-General also held up Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology of nonviolent action for independence to Palestinians.
Asked by a Palestinian journalist why Palestinians “when they resist occupiers” are labelled terrorists, including by UN officials, Guterres said: “I came from India and I went to pay tribute to Gandhi. Let’s not forget the example of Gandhi. I do not think that it is with violence that the Palestinians will be able to better defend their interests. That is my humble opinion.”
A Pakistani journalist asked Guterres if he had discussed attacks on religious minorities with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, referring to the G20 Delhi Declaration condemning religious bigotry and intolerance.
He stated that no bilateral meetings with Modi took place during the G20 Summit.
“But, our position has been very clear. Religious intolerance is a violation of human rights that is totally unacceptable.”