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As leaders reconvene at UN, climate and COVID top the list

Bozkir, Shahid, Guterres
Posted at 4:29 PM, Sep 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-19 19:29:10-04

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Despite the still raging COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100 world leaders are heading to New York for the annual high-level U.N. gathering.

The challenges on the global agenda are daunting, from an escalating climate crisis and vaccine inequities to Afghanistan’s uncertain future under its new Taliban rulers, and worsening conflicts in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and Myanmar.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres keeps repeating that the world is at “a pivotal moment” and can’t continue business as usual. He says it must shift gears to “a greener and safer world.” To do that, leaders need to give multilateralism “teeth,” starting with joint action to reverse the global failure to tackle COVID-19 in 2020 and to ensure that 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated in the first half of 2022.

But as is often true with the United Nations, it remains to be seen whether the high-level meetings, which start Monday and end Sept. 27, make actual progress.