The United Nations marked its 75th anniversary on Monday, celebrating the mantra that “multilateralism is not an option but a necessity” – even as the coronavirus pandemic underscores the fragility of international cooperation.

The anniversary kicked off at the global body’s annual UN General Assembly, when normally leaders and representatives of nearly 200 countries gather en masse to sound off about the world’s problems and offer myriad solutions.

Instead, with COVID-19 still limiting global movement, just one representative from each of the 193 UN members will be allowed, and only someone already in the United States.

Everyone else will have to appear by videoconference, including at least 160 heads of state.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for more international cooperation in the face of global challenges at an event marking the world body’s 75th anniversary.

“Today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions,” Guterres said.   

“Climate calamity looms; biodiversity is collapsing; poverty is again rising; hatred is spreading; geopolitical tensions are escalating … and the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities. We can only address them together.”

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