LAHORE, Feb 18 (APP):United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres Tuesday stressed the need for greater participation of youth,besides gender parity within the political systems as well as international organizations to effectively address issues like global warming, unfair globalization, unregulated new technologies and conflicts in the world.
During a meeting with students from various institutions on “Role of the youth in UN of the 21st Century” here at LUMS, UN Secretary General said it has become necessary to engage young people in order to promote institutional dialogue in democracies. “Permanent inter-flow of communication between the political society and civil society is the basis of modern democratic system”, he observed.
The UN Secretary General said that presence of youth is absolutely essential in the corridors of power where decisions are made, policies are defined and actions get implemented. He regretted that his generation didn’t succeed in achieving desired goals to reverse emergency in climate change, fair distribution of resources among all segments of societies, regulation of new technologies and avoiding conflicts.
Terming climate change defining issue of the age, Guterres said: “We do not have the political will to reverse the climate emergency, we live in despite being citizens of a global world”. He said the world today was faced with the challenges of record increase in levels of gaseous emissions in the air, land and sea, rising temperatures, soaring water levels due to melting of glaciers.
“There is a war between humans and the nature and the nature is striking back with enormous power”, he observed, adding that we have not yet taken necessary decisions to reverse this effect.
The UN Secretary General said, as a world body, we must ensure that the temperatures don’t rise more than 1.5 degrees, and the carbon emission remain low in the next decade.
He said UN’s ‘Youth Climate Summit’ in September last year was a means to force politicians to understand that things have o change on climate.
Guterres said mobilization of the youth was important as the climate challenges were to effect more adversely to the young generations in the coming decades. Regarding Globalization, he said: “Despite producing enormous benefits to the world in trade etc. globalization has produced increase in poverty levels which is a threat to the social cohesion of societies”.
He said the governments, across the globe, must formulate economic and social strategies
under which globalization worked for all and no none was left behind.
“If the things moved in the current manner, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030 will not be met”, he warned.
Guterres stressed the need to ensure parity to the women in world affairs, adding that women were not playing the role they should play in world affairs. Advocating equality for women, he said the male dominated global society had failed to check the conflicts for being more aggressive while presence of women in international bodies had compassion to control the permanent cycles of conflict.
Guterres said the UN was evolving a strategy under which the role of men and women was equal in all world bodies by 2028, adding that he had appointed equal number of men and women as Assistant Secretary Generals and Under Secretary Generals to ensure equality among the sexes.
Stressing the need to regulate modern technologies, the UN chief said the youth had a key role to play as the world regulates or devises a mechanism in checking the wrong use of the modern technologies like the digital society; artificial intelligence and genetic engineering become a problem for the world societies.
He said the enormous potential of the new technologies must be utilized, but warned that it would be during the life of the youth of today that the world would see the full impact of new technologies“Many things could become a nightmare if they are not properly regulated and the new technologies like the internet and cyber space could become a tool for terrorists if not properly channeled”.
He said that the wanted ban on automatic weapons as these killed people indiscriminately, adding that the inclusion of youth in decision making was vital as new generations was more exposed to the threats by the new technologies, if not properly regulated.
He said: “Terrorism, hate speech and criminal organizations use internet and cyberspace to divide societies”, urging in order to overcome all challenges faced the world, the youth must have a fundamental voice and role.
Guterres hailed optimism of the youth towards the future of globe, adding that their participation was vital to shape future of the world.
Responding to queries from the students and faculty, the UN Secretary General said civic space was shrinking in many societies, adding that more human rights activists were in jails today and the young people could play a vital role in safeguarding human rights in societies.
About the single use plastics ban, Guterres said, single use plastics posed a great threat to
environment, adding that most countries had banned the use and Pakistan was one of those.
“Rawanda, an African country, banned single use plastics some 15 years ago”, he responded.
He said, plastics pose a very serious problem under the seas with micro-plastics and nano-plastics.
He urged the governments to ban it across the globe.
To another question, he said the UN was taking steps to ensure equality among the people as well as the equality among the states, adding that ‘Power has to be taken, it was not given’. He said the UN system was evolved after the WWII and it must not disconnect with the people, otherwise, it would create mistrust.
On human rights in Kashmir, the UN Secretary General said the people of Kashmir have every right to humane treatment and protection of their political rights and fundamental freedoms. He said human rights are not political rights but they are political, economic and social rights – some of the political rights are pushed back.
About regulating the social media, the UN chief said a multi-stake holders approach was needed to adopt laws. He said companies were averse to regulation a decade ago and today organization like the Microsoft was asking for regulations’ adding the UN had constituted a high level committee to recommend to the UN more flexible mechanism from lawyers, companies and civil society.
To a query, he said the UN was making efforts to ensure the youth were inducted in the positions of responsibility in the member states, besides presence of the youth members in the political bodies as well as the UN.
Later, the UN Secretary General had a souvenir photograph with the students and faculty of LUMS.