UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the reform of the UN Security Council and sought revision of the Bretton Woods system - a global financial architecture created by the US-led Western countries after the end of World War II. “Today’s structures reflect yesterday’s world,” the UN chief told the BRICKS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday, as he attended the event for the first time ever.
“They were largely created in the aftermath of World War II when many African countries were still ruled by colonial powers and were not even at the table,” Guterres said.
“This is particularly true of the Security Council of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions,” he said, referring to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
“For multilateral institutions to remain truly universal, they must reform to reflect today’s power and economic realities. In the absence of such reform - fragmentation is inevitable,” he said. “We cannot afford a world with a divided global economy and financial system; with diverging strategies on technology including artificial intelligence; and with conflicting security frameworks.”
“The IMF estimates that such a fracture could cost 7% of global GDP - a cost that would be disproportionately born by low-income countries, mainly in Africa,” the top UN official said. “I have come to Johannesburg with a simple message: in a fracturing world overwhelmed by crises, there is simply no alternative to cooperation. We must urgently restore trust and reinvigorate multilateralism for the 21st century. This requires the courage to compromise for the common good.”