United Nations Secretary-General Remarks to the Press

I commend the generosity of the Italian people and government in hosting and rescuing so many human beings who are risking their lives on the high seas in search of a better life. Italy should not be left alone. We need global solidarity to face this unprecedented crisis.

I also welcome the continuous support of Italy to our peace operations, both in terms of troops and also by hosting our logistics base in Brindisi.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Yesterday marked a historic day for the United Nations and the human family.

The landmark Paris Agreement on climate change needed to cross two hurdles before it could enter into force.

First, 55 countries needed to ratify the agreement. Second, countries representing at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions needed to join.

I am pleased to report that 73 countries — representing more than 58 per cent of emissions — have now officially ratified the agreement. As a result, the agreement will enter into force on November 4th.

This demonstrates unstoppable momentum for action to meet the threat of climate change, the defining challenge of our times.

Climate change has been my top priority throughout my 10 years in office. I am heartened to see that world leaders, as well as civil society and the private sector, have embraced the need for action. And I am glad that as my term comes to an end, the world is making this new beginning.

In that same spirit, I congratulate Antonio Guterres, who is expected to be nominated officially in a few hours by the Security Council for the General Assembly’s consideration to become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

I know Mr. Guterres very well and consider him a superb choice.

We worked closely together during his long and outstanding service as UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He showed deep compassion for the millions of people who have been forced from their homes. He worked around-the-clock to mount effective operations to come to their assistance.

His past experience as Prime Minister of Portugal, his wide knowledge of world affairs and his lively intellect will serve him well in leading the United Nations in a crucial period.

I and my colleagues look forward to working closely with him and his team to ensure a smooth transition, and I wish him every success when he assumes his formidable new responsibilities.

I am sure he will carry the torch on the full range of key challenges, from strengthening peace operations to achieving sustainable development, upholding human rights and easing humanitarian suffering. As the ninth man to serve as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres has a special responsibility to include, support and empower the world’s women and girls. There is much work ahead, and I pledge to continue to work hard on all these fronts until the last minute of the last day of my mandate.

Grazie!

m2

These remarks were made following a working lunch hosted by President Sergio Mattarella of Italy