Tag Archives: #UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Secretary-General’s remarks to Petersberg Climate Dialogue

COVID-19 has put the lives of billions of people around the globe in turmoil, inflicting grave suffering and destabilizing the global economy.

It has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks, and it has laid bare deep inequalities that threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership.

The same leadership is needed to address the looming existential threat of climate disruption.

Last year was the second-hottest year on record, part of the hottest decade in recorded history.

Delayed climate action will cost us vastly more each year in terms of lost lives and livelihoods, crippled businesses and damaged economies.

The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing.

We must urgently put in place measures to strengthen resilience and cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Technology is on our side.

So, increasingly, is public opinion, especially the voice of young people.

Many cities and businesses are taking action.

But we still lack the necessary political will in many parts of the world.

That is why I continue to advocate for significantly more ambition on mitigation, adaptation and financing.

 

On mitigation, we need all countries to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.

On adaptation, we need to support those countries least responsible for climate change, but most vulnerable to its impacts.

They need to build resilience to protect their populations.

And for that we need adequate financing, beginning with the promised mobilization of $100 billion US dollars a year for mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries.

As we plan our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, we have a profound opportunity to steer our world on a more sustainable and inclusive path – a path that tackles climate change, protects the environment, reverses biodiversity loss and ensures the long-term health and security of humankind.

By making the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient growth, we can create a world that is clean, green, safe, just and more prosperous for all.

 

I am proposing six climate-related actions to shape the recovery.

First: As we spend trillions to recover from Covid-19, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green and just transition.

Investments must accelerate the decarbonization of all aspects of our economy.

Second: where taxpayers’ money is needed to rescue businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth.

It must not be bailing out outdated, polluting, carbon-intensive industries.

Third: Fiscal firepower must shift economies from grey to green, making societies and people more resilient through a transition that is fair to all and leaves no one behind.

Fourth: Looking forward, public funds should invest in the future, by flowing to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and climate.

Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and carbon must have a price and polluters must pay for their pollution.

Fifth: The global financial system, when it shapes policy and infrastructure, must take risks and opportunities related to climate into account.

Investors cannot continue to ignore the price our planet pays for unsustainable growth.

Sixth: To resolve both emergencies, we must work together as an international community.

Like the coronavirus, greenhouse gases respect no boundaries.

Isolation is a trap. No country can succeed alone.

 

We already have a common framework for action – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

To that end, I am asking all countries to prepare enhanced national climate action plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

There are some signs of important progress.

Some countries, including Chile, the current COP President, have already submitted enhanced NDCs, and a further 114 countries have announced they will do so.

121 countries have committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

I encourage the European Union to continue showing global leadership by presenting, by the end of the year, a Nationally Determined Contribution in line with its commitment to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.

And I congratulate Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her leadership and determination.

And I am sure the incoming COP President, the UK, will present an ambitious, quality NDC in line with his nation’s strategy to get to carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

Just last week, the smallest and most vulnerable members of our international family, the small island nations, re-committed to climate ambition, even in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Their leadership should serve as an inspiration to all.

We cannot allow the heavy and rising debt burden of these and other developing countries to serve as a barrier to their ambition.

But the key to tackling the climate crisis is the big emitters.

Let us not forget that the G20 countries collectively account for more than 80 per cent of global emissions and over 85 per cent of the global economy.

All of them must also commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

The Paris Agreement was largely made possible by the engagement of the United States and China.

Without the contribution of the big emitters, all our efforts risk to be doomed.

They say it’s darkest just before the dawn.

These are dark days, but they are not without hope.

We have a rare and short window of opportunity to rebuild our world for the better.

Let us use the pandemic recovery to provide a foundation for a safe, healthy, inclusive and more resilient world for all people.

Thank you.

New York

28 April 2020

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Secretary-General’s remarks at opening of Exhibit Marking the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Excellencies, Mr. Zoltan Matyash, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

It is an honour to be here with you today at the opening of this exhibit. The United Nations is fortunate to host such a deeply moving and important collection of photographs.

Seventy-five years ago, when soldiers of the Soviet army entered Auschwitz, they were stunned into silence by what they saw. The Nazis had attempted to hide some of the evidence of mass murder. But the millions of clothing items and tons of hair told their own appalling story.

Liberation ended the Holocaust. But it was just the beginning of our efforts to make sure such crimes never happen again.

I will never forget my visit to Yad Vashem two years ago. I was shocked once again by the ability of antisemitism to reinvent itself and re-emerge time and again, over millennia. Even after the Holocaust, when its catastrophic results could not have been clearer, antisemitism continues. Sometimes it takes new forms, and is spread by new techniques, but it is the same old hatred. We can never lower our guard.

The past few years have seen a frightening upsurge in antisemitic attacks both in Europe and the United States, part of a troubling increase in xenophobia, homophobia, discrimination and hatred of all kinds. Even Nazism itself is threatening to reemerge —sometimes openly, sometimes in disguise.

As the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, has said, “The hate that begins with Jews never ends there.”

Remembrance and education are an essential part of our prevention efforts, because ignorance creates fertile ground for false narratives and lies. “Never again” means telling the story again and again.

It is a great honour to have Mr. Zoltan Matyash here with us today. We are all deeply grateful to him and to all Holocaust survivors, who inspire us with their strength and their example.

As survivors grow older, it is essential that we keep their memories alive and carry their testimony forward in new ways for new generations.

That is why the United Nations Holocaust Outreach Programme and UNESCO provide written testimony, photographs, videos and other resources for schools and institutions around the world.

And that is why exhibitions like this are so important. These portraits of Holocaust survivors speak to us of the dignity, humanity and interconnectedness of each unique member of our human family.

Their heartbreaking stories of survival and courage inspire us to do more, in whatever way we can, to combat persecution, hatred and discrimination, wherever they are found.

We will gather at the General Assembly in a few days to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to renew the commitment of the international community to prevent any repetition of such crimes against humanity.

Understanding our history connects us to the essential human values of truth, respect, justice and compassion.

As these values come under attack from all sides, we must reaffirm them more strongly than ever.

We will stand firm every day and everywhere against antisemitism, bigotry and hatred of all kinds.

The world failed all those who died, and those who continue to suffer as a result of the Holocaust.

We cannot fail them again by allowing their stories to be forgotten.

Thank you.

New York, 21 January 2020

Statement To The Press By Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil.
We are living in dangerous times.

Geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century.
And this turbulence is escalating.

Even nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted.
This cauldron of tensions is leading more and more countries to take unpredicted decisions with unpredictable consequences and a profound risk of miscalculation.

At the same time, we see trade and technological conflicts that fracture world markets, undermine growth and widen inequalities.

And all the while, our planet is on fire. The climate crisis rages on.

In many parts of the world, we see many people frustrated and angry. We see increased social unrest and growing extremism, nationalism and radicalization, with a dangerous advance of terrorism, notably in Africa.

This situation cannot go on.

I have been following the recent rise in global tensions with great concern.
I am in constant contact with leading officials around the world.

My message is simple and clear:
Stop escalation.
Exercise maximum restraint.
Re-start dialogue.
Renew international cooperation.
Let us not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war.

As always, ordinary people pay the highest price. It is our common duty to avoid it.

Thank you.

New York, 6 January 2019

This Year, My New Year’s Message is to the Greatest Source of Hope – The World’s Young People

From here at the United Nations, I join you in welcoming the New Year. We enter 2020 with uncertainty and insecurity all around.

Persistent inequality and rising hatred.
A warring world and a warming planet.

Climate change is not only a long-term problem but a clear and present danger.
We cannot afford to be the generation that fiddled while the planet burned.

But there is also hope.

This year, my New Year’s message is to the greatest source of that hope: the world’s young people.
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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY
18 December 2019

Migrants are integral members of society, contributing to mutual understanding and sustainable development in communities of both origin and destination.

Safe, orderly and regular migration is in the interest of all. And national priorities on migration are best achieved through international cooperation.

All migrants are entitled to equal protection of all their human rights.

These principles are enshrined in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Yet, we often hear narratives around migrants that are harmful and false.

And we often witness migrants facing unspeakable hardship as a result of policies shaped more by fear than by fact.

On this International Day, I urge leaders and people everywhere to bring the Global Compact to life, so that migration works for all.

Signals Of Hope Multiplying In Face Of Global Climate Crisis Insists UN Chief Guterres

The UN Secretary-General has outlined the “increased ambition and commitment” that the world needs from governments during the coming days of the COP25 UN climate change conference which opens in Madrid on Monday, calling for “accountability, responsibility and leadership” to end the global climate crisis. More:

 

Replace Impunity With Justice and Indifference With Action

Secretary-General’s Message on International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, 19 June

Sexual violence in conflict is a threat to our collective security and a stain on our common humanity.

It is used as a tactic of war, to terrorize people and to destabilize societies.

Its effects can echo across generations through trauma, stigma, poverty, long-term health issues and unwanted pregnancy.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we must hear the survivors, and recognize their needs and demands.

They are mostly women and girls, but also men and boys, calling for our support to access life-saving health services, justice and reparation.

Today we also honor those working on the front-lines, directly assisting victims to rebuild their lives.

Our global response must include more concerted action to ensure accountability for the perpetrators – and to address the gender inequality that fuels these atrocities.

Together, we can and must replace impunity with justice; and indifference with action.

Thank you.