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At Davos, UN chief warns the world is in a ‘sorry state’

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the 53rd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, January 18, 2023. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the 53rd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, January 18, 2023. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

The world is in a “sorry state” because of myriad interlinked challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine that are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash,” the UN chief says at the World Economic Forum’s meeting.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers his gloomy message on the second day of the elite gathering of world leaders and corporate executives in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Guterres says the “gravest levels of geopolitical division and mistrust in generations” are undermining efforts to tackle global problems, which also include widening inequality, a cost-of-living crisis sparked by soaring inflation and an energy crunch, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply-chain disruptions and more.

He singles out climate change as an “existential challenge,” and says a global commitment to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius “is nearly going up in smoke.”

Guterres is also not optimistic that the conflict in Ukraine could end soon.

“There will be an end of this war. There is the end of everything. But I do not see the end of the war in the immediate future,” he says.

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