UN chief in Davos warns world in ‘sad state’ – The Associated Press

UN chief in Davos warns world in ‘sad state’ – The Associated Press

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – The world is in a “sad state” due to a myriad of interconnected challenges, including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction accident,” the UN chief said to the world economic forum session on Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered his somber message on day two of the elite gathering of world and business leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. The sessions took a somber turn when news broke of a helicopter crash in Ukraine that killed more than a dozen people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and other officials.

Forum President Borge Brende asked for 15 seconds of silence and Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska dabbed tears into her eyes, calling it “another very sad day” and then telling participants that “we are also taking this negative situation for the better.” can turn”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to address the conclave via video link, while the Ukrainian delegation, which includes his wife, is pushing for more help, including arms, from international allies to fight Russia. Shortly before Zelenskyy spoke Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who when asked why he hadn’t sent tanks to the war-torn country, reiterated that Germany is one of the leading suppliers of military equipment to Ukraine, right behind the US and Britain.

While Germany has provided air defense systems and armored personnel carriers, Scholz – the only leader coming to Davos from the group of the 7 largest economies – is facing pressure to send tanks to help Ukraine.

Guterres said the “heaviest level of geopolitical division and distrust in generations” is undermining efforts to address global issues, including rising inequality, a cost-of-living crisis fueled by rising inflation and an energy crisis, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19 -Crisis belong. 19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and more.

He highlighted climate change as an “existential challenge” and said a global commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius “is almost going up in smoke”.

Guterres, who is one of the world’s most outspoken figures on climate change, pointed to a recent study that found that Exxon Mobil scientists had been making remarkably accurate predictions about the effects of climate change as early as the 1970s, despite the company’s public doubts about warming was real.

“We learned last week that in the 1970s certain fossil fuel producers were fully aware that their core product is baking our planet,” he said in his speech. “Some in Big Oil have been peddling the big lie.”

Critics have questioned the impact of the four-day gathering, where politicians, CEOs and other leaders discuss the world’s problems — and do business on the sidelines — but where concrete action is harder to measure. Environmentalists, for example, have criticized the carbon-emitting private jets that carry bigwigs to an event prioritizing the fight against climate change.

On day two, government officials, corporate titans, academics and activists attended dozens of panel sessions on topics including the metaverse, environmental greenwashing and artificial intelligence.

Ukraine takes center stage as the anniversary of the war approaches, and Zelenska urges attendees to do more to help their country at a time when invading Russia is killing children and the world is grappling with food insecurity.

The crash added further tragedy after a Russian missile attack over the weekend struck an apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, killing dozens in one of the deadliest single strikes in months.

But Ukraine is gaining additional international support: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday that the Netherlands plans to “join” US and German efforts to train and equip Ukraine with advanced Patriot defense systems.

The German government is facing increasing pressure to take another significant step in military aid to Ukraine by promising to supply Leopard 2 main battle tanks. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is scheduled to visit Berlin this week, followed by a meeting of allies at Ramstein Air Force Base in western Germany.

Guterres was not optimistic that the conflict, which is being fought less than 1,000 kilometers from Davos, could end soon.

‚ÄúThis war will come to an end. There is the end of everything. But I don’t see the end of the war in the immediate future,” he said. Deep historical differences between Russia and Ukraine make finding a solution based on international law and respecting territorial integrity difficult, he added.

“Right now, I don’t think we have a chance to promote or mediate serious negotiations to achieve peace in the short term,” Guterres said.

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AP journalists Masha Macpherson and David Keyton in Davos and Kelvin Chan in London contributed.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the World Economic Forum meeting at https://apnews.com/hub/world-economic-forum.