GUSTAVO PETRO URREGO, President of Colombia, recalling his recent visits to Chile to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the coup, to a popular neighbourhood in Medellín where mafia used to lure youth as well as to Cuba — “an unjustly blockaded country” — noted that the multiple crises in the world have only deepened over the past year. War did not end, hunger continues, recession increases and the climate crisis has worsened, causing thousands of deaths and heating our planet. Observing that humanity is moving towards extinction, he argued that all the crises are, in effect, one — the crisis of life. This has been expressed in one indicator, he claimed, pointing to the migration flows from the South to the North. While today the number amounts to tens of millions, by 2070, the figure will have reached 3 billion, as people’s homes will become uninhabitable, he emphasized.
Describing today’s Colombia as one full of beauty and life, he warned that by 2070 all that might be left of it is desert. In a move to the North, people will be driven by something simpler than better economic prospects — by water. He argued that to reach the North, people will defy armies and change the Earth. “This exodus of people to the North is an exact reflection of the dimension of the failure of Governments,” he said, drawing attention to a yearly increase in migration. In addition, he condemned the treatment of migrants from the South and the rise of hatred towards them, as many are pursued and imprisoned, often in facilities built out at sea to prevent them from reaching the mainland. In this regard, he accused “the whites” of still considering themselves superior, which is also reflected in the results of elections.
However, as the crisis of life advances and the clock is ticking, “we decide to waste time killing one another” instead of solving the situation and ensuring a sustainable future, he regretted. To meet the Sustainable Development Goals, all wars must be brought to an end, he underscored, stating that the war in Ukraine benefits the world Powers, while their approach to Palestine is different. To achieve peace, he thus proposed that the United Nations should as soon as possible hold two peace conferences — one on Ukraine and the other on Palestine. This would lead the way in helping to bring peace to all regions of the planet, because “both of these alone can bring an end to hypocrisy as a political practice”, he insisted. He went on to state that the Sustainable Development Goals will not be met, as instead of social justice we see global injustice.
Criticizing the lack of monetary resources for climate change adaptation, he noted that what is now needed is $3 trillion to overcome this challenge. He thus proposed to reform the global financial system, as cheap loans causing more indebtedness are not the solution. While the market will contribute as well, it is also part of the problem, he claimed. He thus called for most of the investment to decarbonize the world’s economy to come from the public funds, from the efforts of societies, from bringing States and humanity together and from governing the Earth with the vision of democracy. In this way, the world will be able to finance the Marshall Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals — for social and environmental justice on the planet. He expressed hope that this will allow humanity to achieve its objective of spreading life through the very diversity of its cultures.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Tuesday called at the UN General Assembly for peace summits to resolve conflicts in Ukraine and between Israel and the Palestinians, so the international community could focus instead on addressing climate change, which he said was “the mother of all crises”.
Read the full statement, in PDF format.
Access the statements from previous sessions.