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Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization (A/74/1) [EN/AR/RU/ZH]

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General Assembly
Official Records
Seventy-fourth Session
Supplement No. 1

Chapter I

Introduction

1. As we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, the world’s leading instrument of shared progress, our common purposes and principles remain as important as ever. The Organization, and its ethos of international cooperation, have yielded great and wide-ranging benefits to humankind, lifting millions out of poverty, upholding human rights and helping to forge peace in troubled lands. In today’s rapidly changing world, our enduring and Charter-driven duty is to build on those achievements and ensure that all people can enjoy safety, prosperity and dignity. In that spirit, I offer my third report on the work of the Organization concerned about the state of our world – but also encouraged by what I know we can deliver for the people we serve.

Deepening challenges that transcend borders

2. The world continues to face grave global challenges that no single Member State or organization can address alone. The existential threat posed by climate change is paramount among those perils. Climate change-related disasters affect an average of 350 million people every year, and every day global warming is reversing hard-won development gains and exacerbating poverty. Biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate.

3. In 2019, nearly 142 million people will need humanitarian assistance. Armed conflicts and violence continue to destroy lives and communities. Conflicts have become more complex and interlinked. Violent extremism and terrorism continue to destabilize countries and entire regions.

4. Pervasive poverty and rising inequality across and especially within countries are of significant concern, as are the worrying trends of shrinking democratic and civic space, often affecting human rights defenders, health workers and journalists first. Violence against women and girls and renewed pushback against women’s rights and gender equality remain pervasive across the world.

5. Those factors, among others, have contributed to increasing levels of displacement, which expose vulnerable populations on the move to human rights violations and create complex challenges in transit and destination countries. As these and other problems persist and proliferate, we see growing fear, uncertainty and frustration undermining public trust in institutions and political establishments and providing a breeding ground for hate speech, xenophobia and other divisive and dangerous narratives.

6. My profound concern about this alarming trajectory – including hate-driven violence and atrocious attacks on places of worship – led me to launch a strategy to combat hate speech and to explore how the United Nations can support the protection of holy sites around the world.