By Ashna Butani
‘As we begin 2018, I am issuing a red alert for our world. I call for unity – our future depends on it,’ said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on his New Year’s Eve address.
Grim flashbacks of the year 2017
In an address posted on Twitter and Youtube, the Secretary-General says that he appealed for 2017 as the year of peace. Disappointed by the global situation, he said that the world has unfortunately gone in reverse. He emphasized on several international issues such as climate change, the increasing threat of nuclear weapons, xenophobia, nationalism and increased inequalities. He goes on to say that the only way to overcome the issues at hand is international cooperation and unity.
Rising fears of a nuclear war
The Secretary-General says that the threat of nuclear weapons has reached surmountable heights, in fact, they are the highest since the Cold War. North-Korea has tested several missiles, while Kim Jong-Un suggests that these missiles can reach the US. The country claims that nuclear weapons can be mounted on these missiles, however, this claim has not been verified by independent sources. They continue to fire test missiles, despite condemnation from the international community.
The rhetoric between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump might materialise into a nuclear war, experts believe. The two leaders continue to exchange threats and insults, despite worldwide criticism and fears of a third world war. The Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was signed in July 2017. The depositary of this treaty was the UN Secretary-General himself. However, only 56 countries have signed the treaty.
A deluge of natural disasters
Our world was struck by numerous natural disasters in the year 2017. Starting from floods and extreme weather to droughts and earthquakes, the plethora of natural disasters, was a growing concern for us. The change in the behaviour of the climate away from the normal is referred to as climate change. The UN Secretary-General is right in saying that climate change is increasing at a pace that man cannot race.
The year saw sceptics such as President Trump withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Instead of working to fight environmental changes, our leaders are beginning to question the word of scientists and experts all over the world. Antonio Guterres ended his speech on a positive note, stating that if all global leaders come together, we will wake up to a better tomorrow. He wished everyone good health in the year 2018.
Are we turning over a new leaf?
The day after this speech, Kim Jong-Un stated that there is a button on his desk, that gives him the power to wage a nuclear war, in case the security of North Korea is threatened. He adds that he is open to dialogue with South Korea. However, former chairman of Joint Chief of Staff maintained that the US is now closer to a nuclear war with Korea. Hence, proving that Antonio’s ‘Red Alert‘, is as red as can be.
The Secretary-General made mentions of violations of human rights. He urges world leaders to narrow the gaps and bridge the divides. His appeal is a genuine and heartfelt plea for unity. He ended his speech with a ‘Thank-you,’ in several major languages.
Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt
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