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New UN chief Guterres' first day in office

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Added 2nd January 2017 11:54 AM

On the first day of 2017 and on his very first day in office, Guterres seems to have something rolled up his sleeves.

New UN chief Guterres' first day in office

On the first day of 2017 and on his very first day in office, Guterres seems to have something rolled up his sleeves.

By Simon J Mone

When Pope Francis declared that 2016 was the year of mercy, it was expected that by its end, the sight of gun-wielding men and child soldiers would die away, to restore some sanity in our world. We thought that by the start of 2016, the world's insurgents would have retired their fighting weapons in heed of the Pope's call to show some kindness. The message never sank in. Somehow, there has been an increase in violence, resulting in huge displacements.

On record, 2016 is said to have had the highest number of people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. So from statistics, contrary to what was expected, the world instead became merciless to its people. Innocent people continue to come up against various dimensions of misfortune and horrible crimes.

We can say that it is partly because of wars and therefore, no peace. And with recent projections, 2017 is going to be one of the most challenging of years. It has been predicted that about 93 million people across 33 countries will require humanitarian aid.

Aid agencies may yet have hefty to-do lists in order to offer necessary support. So 2017 has started. And we see an interesting pledge from another world leader, António Guterres.

On the first day of 2017 and on his very first day in office, as United Nations Secretary General, Guterres seems to have something rolled up his sleeves. He has started by promising to ensure that 2017 becomes a year of peace. It must be music to the million ears around the world that have been confined to despair, desperation, and deprivation from peace. Should he pull it off, he will take the crown of the most adored guy of 2017.

We couldn't have expected a much better offer. He has come with great energy and great eagerness to impress. Let us all sit down, pay attention and develop an action plan to return peace.

Peace must prevail so that the most unprivileged communities caught up in conflict and suffering, with no end forthcoming can re-build. We know that with peace, big things will happen. Our to-do list of 2017 will bear results. Security of people will be guaranteed. Death would only be limited to natural causes and not needless ones at sea. There would be no smuggling and trafficking of kids. And money would be committed to more pressing needs.

Migrants and asylum seekers wouldn't pose big problems to their host countries, where they require shelter, food, water and health care.

Return to peace will mean children whose education has been interfered with, can return to the classroom. Their parents would be able to start up livelihood-enhancement projects to support their families and not rely on aid hand-outs.

Malnutrition in kids would end because parents have the time to cultivate and provide food for their households. Resources spent on border guarders and in constructing perimeter walls to block immigrant entry would be better deployed. And resource strain on refugee hosting countries would ease. More resources would be appropriated to other areas of priority.

There would be more money to fight climate change, or support orphanages where homeless kids are being looked after. There would be more money to support; water for home use, agriculture, sanitation and to improve household income.

Attacks on aid workers and journalists would be no more. Emergency funds would be bigger to support earthquake and land slide victims. How the big man is going to implement his plan, we wait to evaluate it. If he can get all the world leaders to pull their weights to his side and they can share the same vision, then he may pull it off.

Therefore, as 2017 rolls in, we hope that peace returns.

The writer is a civil engineer, E-mail:

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