World leaders decry 'global dysfunction' at UN General Assembly

"Our world is in peril."

Updated: September 20, 2022 - 10:25pm

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As world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, many bemoaned the state of the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, rising costs of living and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"We are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction... our world is in peril — and paralyzed," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, according to the Associated Press.

"The divergence between developed and developing countries, between North and South, between the privileged and the rest, is becoming more dangerous by the day,” he continued. "It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade."

Heads of state from all over the world have already given their addresses, though many more will speak later in the week. Many leaders of smaller countries highlighted that major powers were now experiencing hardships with which they have long been familiar.

According to King Abdullah II of Jordan, the major powers "are discovering a truth that people in developing countries have known for a long time: For countries to thrive, affordable food must get to every family’s table." His comments come amid global inflation and cost of living increases.

Senegalese President Macky Sall, meanwhile, advocated for a "multilateral" approach to the global order, in which the minor powers had a greater voice. He stressed that worldwide cooperation could only come "on the basis of shared ideals, and not local values erected as universal norms," the AP reported.

The war in Ukraine was a prominent topic among world leaders, though neither Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky nor Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have yet given their addresses.