In his message, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that in 2022, over 100 million people around the world found themselves fleeing violence, wildfires, droughts, poverty and hunger.
"From Ukraine to Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and beyond, people left the ruins of their homes and lives in search of something better”, he said.
The UN chief said the crisis in Ukraine has created unprecedented challenges for the entire international system. The calls to refrain from actions that would escalate tensions were ignored and the consequential consequences went beyond the areas of conflict.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) pointed out that armed conflict is the main factor contributing to lowering the forecast of global economic growth in the context that the world is still reeling from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many conflicts remain unresolved on all continents. More than 300,000 civilians have been killed in the civil war that has entered its 11th year in Syria.
After seven years of conflict, Yemenis continue to live in insecurity. Tensions between Israel and Palestine have been heated up after clashes broke out in the occupied territories. The seeds of radical terrorism showed signs of resurgence with the suicide bombings that rocked Afghanistan. The Korean peninsula remains "hot" by a series of weapons tests and military exercises in the region.
UN peacekeepers have been always in danger while on missions in several African countries. In 2022, attacks on civilians and peacekeepers were recorded almost every month in Mali. Three staff members of the UN Mission were killed in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the Americas, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti has been increasingly aggravated as gangs compete for territory.
In the context of intertwined crises and conflicts, the UN has continued to play a leading role in peace dialogues around the world. A highlight of the UN's work was the successful promotion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which helped to resume food shipments from Ukrainian ports. The implementation of the deal has contributed to slowing the rapid increase in prices of grains, cooking oil, fuel and fertiliser worldwide.
Sudan, a country continuously witnessing political instability after a military coup in 2021, received good news. The UN Secretary-General hailed a peace agreement between civilian and military leaders as well as the assurance of a support package for Sudan during the transition period. A peace agreement signed in November in Ethiopia was also described by the UN as an "important first step" towards ending two years of fierce fighting.
The UN Special Envoy for Syria continued to meet with parties in Syria and with international partners to pursue a political solution to the crisis. The UN Special Envoy for Yemen still believed that a peace agreement can be reached and it is important not to lose faith. There are positive signs that Colombia, which has experienced decades of domestic combat, can achieve a lasting peace.
In order to save future generations from the catastrophe of war, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that effective and inclusive multilateralism must soon be revived. In 2023, we need peace more than ever. Peace between people, through dialogue, will end conflict. Peace with nature and climate will contribute to building a more sustainable world.