Cairo, Egypt - Speaking at Cairo University, on 15 February 2017, United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres described Egypt as "one of the pillars of multilateralism in today's world." The UNSG also praised Egypt's generous contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, with the courage of its soldiers--women and men--and with its police--men and women, "that many times are in a peacekeeping operation where there is no peace to keep, and where their lives are in permanent risk," he added.
In his speech, Guterres highlighted three challenges facing the world today. Topping the list of was conflict. According to the UNSG, "we no longer live in a bipolar, unipolar [or even multipolar world, rather a chaotic world where conflicts multiply, new conflicts emerge and old conflicts seem never to die]". He highlighted that the link between global terrorism and conflict further aggravates the complexity of today's conflicts.
As for the second challenge, Guterres noted the interaction between what he called "mega trends" in "populations growth, climate change, food insecurity, water scarcity, urbanization, movements of people and migration". Singling out the problem of refugees, Guterres asserted that refugee protection is deeply rooted in the culture and tradition of the Muslim world. Islam "is a faith of tolerance, of solidarity, a faith of humanism. That is important to recognize when we talk about Islam today," he added.
Guterres highlighted the tremendous inequality in the distribution of wealth that accompanied globalization and technological progress as a third challenge. Combined with unemployment, inequality is "one of the worst threats to global peace and security", as frustrated youth are key recruitment targets of extremist organizations and xenophobic parties.
In the face of these challenges, the UNSG repeatedly referred to the importance of investing in new generations: governments must place youth employment and skills development at the center of all projects; and youth must have a say in the way their countries are managed. He particularly emphasized that Egypt's vibrant youth can contribute to making their country a leader in the region and the international community.
Read Full Speech or Watch Video