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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.   (AFP or licensors)

UN chief has reasons for hope for 2019 despite “red alert” of 2018

In a message for the New Year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his hope for 2019, despite the “red alert” he sounded for 2018 still there.

By Robin Gomes

As the New Year 2019 dawns, the United Nations chief says he has “reasons for hope”, despite the “red alert” over a range of dangers confronting the world he sounded at the start of 2018 still on. 

“These are anxious times for many, and our world is undergoing a stress test,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a New Year video message released on Saturday. 


He expressed his continuing concern over climate change saying it is “still “running faster than we are,” and the deepening geo-political divisions are making conflicts more difficult to resolve.

Added to these, record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection, inequality is growing and “people are questioning a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity.”  While intolerance is on the rise and trust is declining.


On the other hand, Guterres noted, “there are also reasons for hope”, notably in Yemen where breakthrough talks have created an opportunity at least, for peace. 

The agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea signed in Riyadh in September has eased long-running tensions and brought improved prospects to an entire region as a cause for optimism.  

Meanwhile, the agreement between warring parties in South Sudan has revitalized chances for peace, “bringing more progress in the past four months than in the previous four years.”

Climate change

Guterres sounded upbeat that the UN was able to bring countries together in Katowice, Poland in December, to agree on a programme to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

He said, “Now we need to increase ambition to beat this existential threat.” “It’s time to seize our last best chance” and “stop uncontrolled and spiralling climate change.”

People on the move

In recent weeks, the UN also oversaw landmark global agreements on migration and refugees, “that will help to save lives and overcome damaging myths.”


And people everywhere are mobilizing behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which he called “our global blueprint for peace, justice and prosperity on a healthy planet.”

“When international cooperation works, the world wins”, the UN chief stressed.


He maintained that in 2019, the UN “will continue to bring people together to build bridges and create space for solutions ” , keeping up the pressure for change.

“As we begin this New Year, let’s resolve to confront threats, defend human dignity and build a better future – together,” concluded the Secretary-General, wishing the world a peaceful, prosperous and healthy 2019.   (Source: UN news)

31 December 2018, 16:30