‘F in Ethics’ By Reuters

© Reuters. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, Sept. 21, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool

(correct typo in first paragraph)

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday rebuked the world for the unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, describing it as an “obscenity” and giving the world an “F in Ethics.”

At the annual UN meeting of world leaders in New York, Guterres said images from some parts of the world of expired and unused vaccines in the trash told “the story of our time” — with the majority of the richer world immunized while more than 90 % of Africa has not even received one dose.

“This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It’s an obscenity. We passed the scientific test. But we get an F for Ethics,” Guterres told the UN General Assembly.

World leaders https://www.reuters.com/world/china/world-leaders-return-un-with-focus-pandemic-climate-2021-09-19 returned to New York this year after a virtual event last year during the pandemic. With the coronavirus still raging, about a third of the 193 UN states are re-sending videos, but presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have traveled to the United States for the rest.

Of the 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered around the world, only 2% have been in Africa. Guterres is pushing for a global plan to vaccinate 70% of the world by the first half of next year.

The secretary general, who will begin a second five-year term at the helm of the world organization on January 1, also warned of rising tensions between the world’s superpowers – China and the United States.

“I fear our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial and technological rules, two different approaches to artificial intelligence development — and ultimately two different military and geopolitical strategies,” he said.

“This is a recipe for trouble. It would be much less predictable than the Cold War,” Guterres said.

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