When referring to the conclave that began in this capital, in an exclusive interview with Prensa Latina, he highlighted that “it is the voice of the global south,” and valued its contribution to “giving a strong push for an essential change that we want to approve at the United Nations, in order to promote reforms and the mobilization of resources in support of the global south.”
Senior representatives from more than a hundred countries belonging to the G77 and China attend the two-day meeting, inaugurated by the host president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and by Guterres, who spent a few minutes talking with this news agency.
Prensa Latina: The Havana summit brings together the largest and most diverse group of nations in the multilateral sphere, just a few days before the General Assembly begins in New York. What does this mean for the UN?
António Guterres: It is extremely important because it is the voice of the south, the global south. We are in a dramatic moment in history. We have great challenges… climate change, the deep inequalities that exist.
At the same time, developing countries are in an extremely difficult situation. Many have a doubt that is impossible to pay; they do not have access to the funds necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Africa pays more in debt service than in education and health budgets.
At this moment, the voice of the south is essential for the necessary profound reforms to be made in the international financial architecture. We have institutions that were created after World War II. Many of the countries present here did not exist at that time and did not have a voice.
Institutions must be reformed so they correspond to today’s economy and world, with a new balance of powers and make the entire financial system much more capable of supporting developing countries to guarantee that the SDGs are achieved.
Prensa Latina: In this challenge, the theme chosen for the Summit is unavoidable: science, technology and innovation at the service of development…
António Guterres: The issue is fundamental because we need science, innovation and technologies to be at the service of everyone. However, today many of them are increasing inequalities.
If we look at the digital divide, in northern countries everyone has access to the Internet, in southern countries there are many people who do not have it. In the case of vaccines (against Covid-19), technological innovation was in the great north and the vaccines were not distributed equally throughout the world.
When we look at Artificial Intelligence, investment is concentrated in a small group of countries, especially those in the north, and the very important benefits that can come from science and technology in these areas can dramatically increase inequalities.
So, this summit is very important to give a boost to equity and justice in the development of science and technology.
The president of Cuba said today that 90 percent of the investment in innovation in the pharmaceutical sector is concentrated on typical diseases of northern countries and only 10 percent on typical diseases of southern countries. This must be rebalanced and the momentum of this summit is very important.