Media Library

News Releases

President Higgins urges world leaders to respond to UN Secretary General António Guterres’ call for action

Date: Sat 18th Jul, 2020 | 19:17

In responding to the Mandela Annual Lecture delivered today by Secretary General António Guterres, President Michael D. Higgins said:


“The Mandela Lecture delivered today by the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres represents both a devastating indictment of the most serious breaches of faith on the part of the most powerful nations of the world, and at the same time a clear agenda as to what must be faced if we are to see progress on the following:

  • the reduction of corrosive inequalities;
  • a coherent opposition to a renewed racism that has not eschewed the legacy of colonialism;
  • an unfair international trade that represents little less than a new colonialism;
  • the urgent need for reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank.

“In what is without doubt the most forthright statement by a Secretary General in recent years, Dr. Guterres has spoken of how COVID-19 has laid bare not only what we neglected but sought to hide in terms of avoidable global poverty, hunger and environmental degradation.

The choice is clear - to seize a new moment for global solidarity or seek to hide in the thickets of a systemic failure that is failing the vast majority of the world’s people and that has brought our planet to a point of ecological disaster.

Now is the time for all world leaders to come out and respond to the Secretary General of the United Nations’ call.”