Category Archives: News

Press Conference United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Prime Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

Suva, 16 May 2019

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.

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UN Secretary-General Mission to the Pacific

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.

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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”.

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UN Secretary-General Visit to New Zealand

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.
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Press Remarks

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.

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Message of Solidarity with the People of New Zealand

 

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.”

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Secretary-General Arrives in New Zealand

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, kicking off a weeklong trip to the Pacific region where he will be calling for action on climate change. After meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Secretary-General hailed the partnership between New Zealand and the United Nations.

United Nations Secretary-General Official Visit to the Pacific

Secretary-General’s remarks to Māori and Pasifika youth at event hosted by James Shaw, New Zealand Minister for Climate Change Auckland, 13 May 2019

Dear friends, it is an enormous pleasure to be here with some of the members of Generation Zero representing the very important leadership that youth around the world is providing to make sure that we are able to reach our central objective: not to have more than 1.5 degrees of increasing temperature at the end of the century.

The international community , and especially the scientific community, has been very clear that to reach this goal we absolutely need to have carbon neutrality by 2050. I’m extremely grateful to the leadership of New Zealand in this regard and extremely grateful to the leadership to the youth in New Zealand in this regard.

I’m confident that youth around the world will be able to convey to their governments a very clear message which is the message that I would like to convey here from the Pacific.

First, shift taxes from salaries to carbon. We must tax pollution not people.

Second stop subsidies to fossil fuels. Taxpayers’ money should not be used to boost hurricanes, to spread drought and heat waves, to bleach corals or to melt glaciers.

Finally, stop the construction of new coal plants by 2020. We want a green economy not a grey economy in the world.

It is very important that around the world young people, civil society and those that in the business community have understood that the green economy is the economy of the future and the grey economy has no future, it’s very important that you convince governments that they must act because there’s still a lot of resistance.

I went to Katowice not one, but three times, and I felt that resistance. Governments are still afraid to move forward. They feel the costs of climate action forgetting that the costs of inaction are much bigger than any costs of climate action. It’s very good to see – as we know, that nature does not negotiate – it’s very good to see youth in the frontline and I’m delighted to be with you here today and to learn from you, what you want us to do.

Thank you very much for your presence and it’s very important that your own government recognizes you’re a very important influence in what has been the exemplary New Zealand leadership in this regard.

 

Note to Correspondents

Secretary-General’s upcoming travel to Geneva and the South Pacific

On May 12, the Secretary-General will travel to the South Pacific to spotlight the issue of climate change ahead of the Climate Action Summit that he is convening in September in New York. This visit will take him to New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

In each country, the Secretary-General will meet government leaders, civil society representatives and youth groups to hear from those already impacted by climate change and who are also successfully engaging in meaningful climate action.

In Fiji, the Secretary-General will be at the Pacific Island Forum, where he will meet with senior governments officials from each Member State in attendance, as well as with members of civil society.

In New Zealand, the Secretary-General will meet with Muslim leaders in Christchurch to express his solidarity following the 15 March terrorist attack.

Prior to traveling to the Pacific, the Secretary-General will be in Geneva from 8-10 May to attend the spring meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB). This is one of the semi-annual meetings that brings together, under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General, the executive heads of 31 UN system entities. This session, which will be hosted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, will focus on the future of work in the digital age. The heads of the UN entities will also look to agree on ambitious and concrete steps to address climate change in advance of the September Climate Summit.

While in Geneva, the Secretary-General will also address a special session of the World Trade Organization’s General Council, where he will stress the importance of preserving the multilateral rules-based order – including on trade – for a fair globalization and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Secretary-General will be back in New York on 19 May.