Amid Sharp Divisions, Cooperation Key to Create Better, Unified World, Secretary-General Says in Video Message on Human Development Report

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message on the Human Development Report 2023-24: Reimagining Cooperation in a Polarized World, in New York today:

We are living in an age of polarization.  Among communities and across regions, people are being driven apart by rising inequality, escalating conflicts, and record-breaking climate shocks.  Misinformation and a breakdown of trust are tearing the social fabric and reducing space for meaningful public discourse. 

Divisions are deepening at a moment when cooperation is critical to our shared future:  Cooperation to end conflicts.  Cooperation to tackle the climate crisis and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.  And cooperation to agree on guardrails for digital technologies, like artificial intelligence. 

This year’s Human Development Report explores the roots of polarization and its devastating impact on sustainable development.  It builds on previous analysis of people’s feelings of insecurity and uncertainty, offering a path out of stalemate and division.  It demonstrates that our best hope for the future is by combating divisive rhetoric and stressing the common ground that unites the vast majority of people everywhere. 

And it calls for the urgent expansion of our systems of international cooperation, so that they can deliver on people’s priorities:  sustainable development; a clean environment; a livable planet; safety, security and dignity for all. 

September’s Summit of the Future will consider exactly these questions.  As we prepare for the Summit, I recommend the Human Development Report as an important contribution.  It shows that solutions to global problems are within our grasp — by reimagining cooperation and uniting for a better world.

For information media. Not an official record.