Osservazioni del Segretario Generale dell’ONU alla Conferenza di Monaco sulla sicurezza





Munich, 16 February 2024


Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a pleasure to be here in Munich.


As the title of our discussion implies, today’s global order is not working for everyone.


In fact, I would go further and say:  it’s not working for anyone.


Our world is facing existential challenges, but the global community is more fragmented and divided than at any time during the past 75 years.


Even the Cold War era was, in some ways, less dangerous.


The threat of nuclear war was real and existential.


That’s why the United States and the Soviet Union agreed on arms reductions and controls and other mechanisms to prevent mutually assured destruction.


Today, in our multipolar world, we still face the nuclear danger.


And we are dealing with two more threats with existential dimensions:  the climate crisis, and the risks of uncontrolled Artificial Intelligence.


We have been unable to take effective steps to respond to any of these existential challenges.


Multipolarity has created important opportunities for balance and justice, and for new leadership on the global stage.


But the transition to multipolarity without strong global institutions can create chaos.


When power relations are vague, the dangers of aggressive opportunism and miscalculation grow.


Today we see countries doing whatever they like, with no accountability.


Impunity seems to be the name of the game and so we must all be determined to establish the privacy of the rule of law.


As the Munich Security Report makes clear, relative gains through competition between countries are being prioritized over absolute gains for all through cooperation.


Crises are multiplying, linked to competition and impunity.


A global order that works for everyone must address these gaps and provide solutions.




If countries fulfilled their obligations under the UN Charter and international law, every person on earth would live in peace and dignity.  The problem is that many governments are ignoring these commitments.


Millions of civilians are paying a terrible price.  Record numbers have been forced to flee.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,


Nothing can justify the unconscionable terror attacks launched by Hamas on 7 October against Israel.


And nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Israel’s military response.


The situation in Gaza is an appalling indictment of the deadlock in global relations.


The level of death and destruction is shocking in itself.  This war is also spilling over borders across the region and affecting global trade.


The humanitarian aid operation is now on life support.  It is barely functioning.


Humanitarians are working under unimaginable conditions – including live fire, multiple physical obstacles and Israeli restrictions as well as the breakdown of public order.


Rafah is at the core of the entire humanitarian aid operation.  An all out offensive on the city would be devastating for the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians there who are already on the edge of survival.


I have repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and a humanitarian ceasefire.  That is the only way to massively scale up the aid delivery in Gaza.


This must be the foundation for concrete and irreversible steps towards a two-state solution, based on international law and United Nations resolutions.



The war triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in clear violation of the UN charter, has no place in the Europe of the 21st century.


Two years in, the cost in human lives and suffering is appalling and the impact on the global economy has been particularly devastating for developing countries.


We desperately need a just and sustained peace for Ukraine, for Russia, and for the world.  A peace in line with the UN charter and international law, which establishes the obligation to respect the territorial integrity of sovereign states.


And around the world, from the Sahel to Libya and Sudan, from the Great Lakes to the Horn of Africa, from Yemen to Myanmar, we need concerted efforts to strengthen regional organisations and for global powers to pressure the parties to war to come to the peace table and to pursue their goals through negotiations.


The recent decision of the Security Council to support African Union-led peace enforcing and counter-terrorism operations is an important step in the right direction.



Beyond these immediate crises, we need to strengthen the global peace and security architecture to deal with today’s threats and challenges.

Those who drafted the UN Charter did not conceive [of] the climate crisis, Artificial Intelligence or cyberweapons.

The New Agenda for Peace, to be discussed at the Summit of the Future in September, aims to update our collective security systems based on a more networked and inclusive multilateralism, for a world in transition.

From reform of the UN Security Council to a recommitment to eliminating nuclear weapons, and the role of sustainable development and climate action in preventing conflict, the New Agenda for Peace seeks to update global commitments for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

It includes measures to prevent the further fragmentation of global trade rules, supply chains and more.


And it calls for new norms and frameworks to regulate new technologies in the military domain.




Competition at the global level cannot obscure the divisions we see around us.


Communities are riven by hate speech, discrimination, and deepening polarization.

Truth and facts are being drained of all meaning in an age of deep fakes and disinformation.  We are witnessing an intolerable explosion of anti-semitism and other forms of religious and racial hatred.


Divided societies are weak societies where extremist narratives can take hold and tensions quickly escalate into violence, undermining democratic values.


Tech companies should assume their responsibilities and stop profiting from the amplification of toxic content of all kinds.


We need a new emphasis on social cohesion and the security of every individual, through a renewed social contract, based on justice and inclusion, and anchored in human rights.  This will be a focus of the World Social Summit we will host next year.




Now we come to the pie of the next discussion: the global economy.


Everyone is fighting for a piece of that pie.  But zero-sum mindsets mean everyone may get zero – increasing threats to security and prosperity for all.


We need peace with justice.


Today’s global financial architecture, based on frameworks agreed nearly 80 years ago, is outdated, dysfunctional and unfair.


It has failed the world’s poorest countries, still suffering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.


They will owe more in debt service this year than their public spending on health, education and infrastructure – combined.  Unfortunately, we still lack an effective debt relief mechanism.


All this is a development emergency with deep implications for global security.


We need urgent action in two areas: a stimulus of $500 billion US dollars annually in affordable long-term finance for developing countries to invest in the Sustainable Development Goals, as endorsed by the UN General Assembly in September.


We are working with a small group of Heads of State to champion and monitor its implementation.


And we need a new Bretton Woods moment to reform the global financial architecture, so that it corresponds to today’s global economy and is able to create a true global safety net, in particular for developing countries drowning in debt.


The Summit of the Future will consider the need for deep reforms to make these institutions and frameworks truly universal and inclusive and based on the rule of law.


This is essential to create a global economy that works for everyone, everywhere.




Finally, we must end our war with nature.


The climate crisis is gathering pace.


Last year was the hottest on record. It could be the coolest for many years to come.


The next few years are decisive.


Emissions must have peaked by next year – 2025 – and must fall by 45 percent by 2030.


We have the tools.  We know what to do.


And we need to progressively phase out fossil fuels and promote a just and equitable transition to renewable energy, led by the G20 countries that are responsible for 80 percent of global emissions.


The next two years must see ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions – national climate plans – from every country, covering every sector.


We also need to triple global renewable energy capacity, double the energy efficiency by 2030 and unlock the necessary finance for developing countries, from public and private sources, so they can meet the growing demand for electricity with the infinite, clean energy of renewables.


All financial commitments made by developed countries in support of climate action, both in mitigation and adaptation, must be met.




It is clear that our world is in deep trouble.


Global governance in its present form is entrenching divisions and fuelling discontent.


We must work based on justice, with renewed urgency and solidarity.


There is always an opportunity to create a more inclusive, comprehensive, and effective global order that works for everyone based on international law.


A safer world – and a bigger pie – for all.  That is the objective of the UN Summit of the Future in September.


Let’s seize the opportunity.


And I thank you.


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