2019 New Year’s Video Message
International Day of Biodiversity May 22, 2019
Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary
UN Convention on Biological Diversity
17 May 2019
I want to express my very deep solidarity and admiration in relation to the people and the government of Tuvalu.
You are on the frontline of the war on climate change because climate change is striking in Tuvalu in a more dramatic way than anywhere else in the world.
I have enormous admiration for how you have decided to resist and you are implementing a programme of adaptation and resilience that is something that the whole world should admire and support. But it’s necessary that governments that are still causing the problems that affect Tuvalu understand that they need to change. They need to change their energy policies, their transportation policies, the way they manage their cities, the way they are using fossil fuels so that the impact of climate change on Tuvalu can be stopped. Climate change cannot be stopped in Tuvalu it has to be stopped in the rest of the world.
We will be fighting during our Summit in New York to make sure that all countries accept the commitment that we need to be globally carbon neutral by 2050 to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees.
At the same time, I want to express my deep solidarity and the total support from the United Nations to the government and to the people of Tuvalu in your determined efforts to preserve your country – physically, culturally, in the economic and social dimensions, as a rich component of the Pacific and the international community.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saw the frontline of “the battle against climate change” for himself on Thursday, by taking to the tropical waters of the South Pacific off the coast of Fiji, on a solar-powered boat. More
Thank you, your Excellency Honourable Prime Minister, for your words and especially thank you very much for the extremely warm hospitality I have been enjoying in your wonderful country.
This visit has two dimensions: the Fijian dimension and the Pacific dimension.
In the Fijian dimension it is a visit of gratitude in which I want to express how much we appreciate the extraordinary contribution of the Fijian people and the Fijian Government to all the important areas of action of the United Nations and all the important areas of international cooperation.
Fiji has been a strong and committed partner in peacekeeping. Fijian soldiers and Fijian police officers have shown enormous determination, enormous courage, and some of them, unfortunately, have lost their lives protecting the lives of vulnerable people – of women, of children – in some of the most dangerous places in the world.
There is a depth of gratitude that all of the international community in relation to Fiji that I want to express very clearly, being side by side with a former peacekeeper.
Your Excellency, Honourable Speaker Mr. Nailatikau, Your Excellency, Honourable Prime Minister Bainimarama, Distinguished Ministers and Members of Parliament, I am delighted to be here today. It is a great honour to address the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji.
I was in parliament for 26 years of my life. Six and a half of them as Prime Minister.
Being in the Parliament of Fiji I feel twice at home. At home because I’m in Fiji and at home because I’m in the Parliament.
Bula Vinaka, good afternoon, and thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality.
Fiji is a country of extraordinary beauty, with a unique connection to the ocean and the sky.
Your strong traditions of community and social responsibility, and your symbiotic relationship with your surroundings, make you natural global leaders on climate and the environment.
From your chairmanship of COP23, the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, to your co-hosting of the UN’s first-ever conference on the Ocean, to the work of my Special Envoy, Peter Thomson, Fijians have been at the forefront of international action and advocacy on climate and the sea.
Secretary-General’s remarks at the closing of High-Level Political Dialogue of the Pacific Island Forum, Suva,
15 May 2019
Thank you, Mr. President.
This has been a very illuminating meeting. I learned a lot. Allow me to extract four main conclusions from everything I heard today.
The first is that the Pacific Island States have the moral authority to tell the world that climate change needs to be reversed, because the Pacific Island States are leading by example. Even with all the difficulties – the lack of resources, the isolation, the distances, the lack of scale –the truth is that the Pacific Island States are not only building resilience and investing in adaptation to protect their citizens, their communities and their culture to protect their environment, but they are fixing for themselves very ambitious targets in relation to mitigation.
I heard today the very important commitment that the countries of the region are assuming to dramatically reduce emissions and be able to be fully in line with the target that we have all fixed to make sure that the temperature does not rise at the end of the century by more than 1.5 degrees.
I was surprised by the level of innovation you introduced, by the efforts made by the Pacific partnership in all its dimensions, by the commitments made by different countries in relation to their nationally determined contributions. This should be an example for the most developed countries in this world. I was surprised by the very advanced innovations announced using mobile technologies and mobilizing all capacities of the States in order to make sure that countries who are victims of climate change without contributing to it, that they do everything possible at their scale to reduce emissions and to show solidarity with the rest of the world.
This moral authority of the Pacific Island States needs to be clearly recognized.
UN Chief Outlines ‘Intertwined Challenges’ of Climate Change, Ocean Health Facing Pacific Nations on the ‘frontline’
Visiting Fiji for the first time as Secretary-General, António Guterres outlined two “fundamental challenges” facing leaders attending the Pacific Islands Forum on Thursday, namely climate change and the world’s rising ocean, which threatens to submerge low-lying nations.
“The Pacific region is on the frontline of climate change”, he said. “That means you are also our important allies in the fight against it”
The UN chief said that he was there “to see the region’s climate pressures firsthand, and to learn about the work being undertaken by communities here in Fiji and elsewhere to bolster resilience”.
Secretary-General’s Remarks During Visit With Muslim community in Christchurch
As salam alaikum.
I thank this community very much for their welcome – particularly during this holy month of Ramadan.
Every Ramadan I make a visit of solidarity somewhere around the world. Last year, it was in Mali – the year before that, in Afghanistan.
This year, because of the terrible terrorist attack against your community, I wanted to be here with you.
Ramadan is a season of reflection, remembrance and renewal. I am here to express my deepest condolences, my profound respect, and the fullest measure of my solidarity to you, your families and the community.
I know there are no words to relieve the hurt and sorrow and pain.
But I wanted to come here personally to transmit love, support and total and complete admiration.
Secretary-General’s remarks at press encounter with James Shaw, New Zealand Minister for Climate Change Auckland 13 May 2019
Today I had the opportunity to meet with New Zealand youth that are really in the front line of climate action. They very clearly recognize that we face a climate emergency and that we need to reverse the present trend which climate change is running faster than what we are.
I mentioned a few minutes ago that here from the Pacific we must send a very clear message to Governments around the world because political will is not yet able to accompany the pace of climate change and the message from the Pacific to Governments around the world is that indeed it is important to move taxes from salaries to carbon, to tax pollution and not people, that subsidies for fossil fuels must end, tax payers money cannot be used to boost hurricanes to expand drought and heatwaves, to bleach corals or to melt glaciers and that we need to stop the construction of coal power plants from 2020 onwards because we need a green economy not a grey economy in the world.
It was very reassuring to see that here in New Zealand there is a strong commitment of the Government in order to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 as the scientific community is asking as a way to guarantee a that at the end of the century we will not have more than 1.5 degrees of warming and at the same time a strong commitment to support the people that might be impacted by climate action.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in New Zealand on Sunday (12 May) to begin his trip to the Pacific region. From 12 May to 18 May, Guterres is scheduled to visit New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to convey a very strong message from the Pacific to the rest of the world.
Speaking today to media in the New Zealand capital Auckland, alongside New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his solidarity with the victims and families of the March Christchurch mosque attacks, which killed 51 people, and praised Ardern’s leadership in the aftermath of the killings.
Guterres told reporters the reason for the visit was to “pay tribute to their courage, to their resilience, but also to pay tribute to the extraordinary unity and to the message of solidarity that was given by the people and the government of New Zealand.”