UN chief urges world leaders to do more to prevent conflicts

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More countries are facing violent conflict now compared to any other time over the past 30 years, the United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, urging world leaders to do more to prevent wars.

“Low intensity conflicts have increased by 60 per cent in the last ten years” Guterres told the UN Security Council in a briefing on Thursday.

“Complex links” between threats cannot be seen in isolation, the UN chief remarked, citing conflicts, natural disasters, pandemics and possibly new technology.

“Preventing conflict is our collective responsibility,” Guterres said, calling regional and sub-regional organizations “critical” to a multidimensional approach “commensurate with the scale of the challenge.”

The Secretary General urged world leaders to focus in preventing conflicts rather than managing them after they break out.

“We should put far more effort into preventing them,” he said, adding that governments ought to “invest in reducing the need for aid.”

He also flagged the importance of partnering with sub-regional and regional organizations, noting the UN’s relationship with the African Union (AU) and Agenda 2063 to build a prosperous, united continent.

Some African countries continue to be dogged by conflicts, some tribal, others religious, and others racial.

Guterres in his address said prevention of wars was a powerful political instrument to save lives, and also made sense economically.