“We lack the instruments to fight new conflicts”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who has just been reappointed until 2027, sets out the priorities for his new term. He is in Paris, Wednesday, June 30, to kick off the Generation Equality Forum, co-chaired by France and Mexico.

This Wednesday you are launching the Generation Equality Forum, with France and Mexico. Accelerating gender equality, is it still one of your priorities for this second term that you will begin in January?

Gender equality has been reduced with the pandemic, but remains essential: it is central in the perspective of human rights, that of sustainable development or that of peace and security – wars are generally waged by men ! And at the same time, to achieve this gender equality, we must put an end to patriarchal power. This is the real nature of the problem: we live in a world that is still dominated by men, and with a culture of male inspiration. To change things, we need real parity between women and men, in all the mechanisms that lead to decisions.

Read also “Women in struggle, a world struggle”, a new podcast from Le Monde

What will be the other pillars of your second term?

My main objective is to ensure that we work on weaknesses that have been highlighted by climate change, by Covid-19, or by growing inequalities – fragilities on a global scale, or at the level of each company. These growing inequalities have an impact on the loss of trust between citizens and governments, societies and their institutions, countries with one another … And this loss of trust makes multilateral action and international cooperation. I will therefore ensure that we can strengthen all these weakened mechanisms.

The arrival of the Biden administration heralded the return of multilateralism to New York. However, the Security Council has already been seized by Washington in the Middle East file… Are you still optimistic?

The situation today is completely different from what it was two or three years ago: the world’s greatest power is involved in multilateral organizations – that is very positive. But we must also recognize that the relations between great powers are more dysfunctional than ever. We see this in the paralysis of the Security Council on essential issues.

This created greater room for maneuver for the middle powers. And so, most of the conflicts, which were conflicts of local origin, became internationalized – look at Libya, Syria, Yemen… Sometimes these middle powers even have more influence than the great powers! It creates a feeling of impunity – my grandfather would have said: “There is no more respect! “

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