17/05/2017 European Parliament


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17/05/2017

Live coverage of the speech to the European Parliament by the secretary general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.


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Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

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TRANSLATION: Dear colleagues, it is a great pleasure for me to welcome

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the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. Your

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appointment is a historic one, you are the first citizen of the EU to

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have occupied a variety of posts and to occupy this post. And our

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organisations hasn't based on the same values and the same objectives,

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which is to promote peace and prosperity, thanks to multilateral

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co-operation. And today, more than ever, we must work together so as to

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meet the expectations of our citizens and deliver tangible

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results. We must meet the global challenges, conflicts, terrorism,

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radicalisation, the management of migratory flows, but also climate

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change, poverty, unemployment. Our citizens expect Europe to be more

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present and effective on the global scene. We cannot continue to witness

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the bombings in Syria, famine in Africa and the thousands of people

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who die in the desert in the Mediterranean, the trafficking of

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women and children, we cannot in differently look on and see that

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human rights are being increasingly flouted. Democracy is receiving in

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certain countries, such as Venezuela and Turkey. And minorities are being

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persecuted, religious minorities. -- democracies are receding. Yesterday

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we were discussing Africa, with the presence of a representative of the

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African Union. I would like to reiterate the fact that Africa is a

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priority for the European Union. This is why we must bolster

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trilateral co-operation between the UN, the EU and the African Union,

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particularly with regard to prevention and a rapid reaction to

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crises and conflicts. We must find political solutions together for the

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conflicts in the Syria, Libya and Yemen. And we must also come

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together to challenge Daesh. We must defend the dignity of all human

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beings and give confidence to future generations and implementing the

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2030 agenda, so to be able to meet these sustainable develop and goals.

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In view of all these challenges, Secretary-General, you can be

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reassured, your agenda is ours, and you have the floor,

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Secretary-General. Mr President, thank you very much

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for your invitation and this opportunity to address the European

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Parliament. I have been a parliamentarian in my own country

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for 23 years, and during three, I was with your neighbours, the

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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. So, allow me to

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say, dear colleagues! The United Nations was created after the Second

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World War, exactly because the world wanted to avoid another tragedy of

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the same dimension. I believe this was exactly the main motivations for

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the creation of the European Community is, with one very

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important fronts, that the European communities, the European Union, are

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clearly the most successful project of this sustainability in the world

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since the beginning of history. And that is why I want to express here

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are my very deep gratitude and appreciation for the strong

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commitment of the European Union, with all its bodies, to

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multilateralism, and for the very generous and extreme heat important

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contribution you give in development co-operation, in humanitarian aid

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and also in the key central aspects of peace and security which are at

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the core of United Nations action. You see the European Union involved

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around the Libya, in Somalia, in both financial support and training

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in the Central African Republic of Mali, and the initiative of the

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neighbours of Mali as well. European contribution is today an absolutely

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essential part of what is necessary to make the UN effective. And I want

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to express my deep gratitude for that. Dear colleagues, it would be

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possible to come here and make the case that the world has never been

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better. It is obvious that globalisation and technological

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progress in the last decades have created the conditions for an

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enormous increase in global health, in global wealth, for a meaningful

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improvement in the living conditions of the majority of the population

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and a strong reduction in the number of absolute poor, the Chinese

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contribution being essential to that. And some might even say,

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looking for instance that the number of soldiers on the battlefield, that

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this is the most easeful period in human history. Now, these indicators

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might be true, but they are far from the whole truth. And I think it is

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important for us to recognise that we are facing a number of

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unprecedented challenges which require Europe and the UN to work

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together. Allow me to mention briefly four of them. First,

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conflicts. We are seeing a multiplication of new conflicts in

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the last few years, in Afghanistan, Somalia, the democratic Republic of

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Congo. But the truth is that not only do we have a multiplication of

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conflicts, but they have changed in nature. We no longer have wars

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between countries, even if there are some threats, but most of the

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conflicts are internal, many of them linked to fragility is --

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fragilities in the countries, but sometimes they also have a global

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and regional dimension. Sometimes they can be asymmetric, more and

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more conflicts, more and more interlinked and more linked with the

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new threat of global terrorism in the world. If one looks at the

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situation from Nigeria to Mali to Libya to Somalia to Syria, Iraq,

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Yemen, Afghanistan, all these conflicts are becoming more and more

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intellect, with fighters going from one to another and then some going

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back to their country of origin and potentially taking some of those

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elements to their own country of origin. -- and we see these

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conflicts becoming more and more interlinked and they are indeed

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today a very relevant threat to our global security, wherever we live.

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At the same time it is clear power relations in the world became less

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obvious, and with that is seems there is no respect and impunity and

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unpredictability became the name of the game. In this context, when one

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looks at the present trends of conflict, it is absolutely essential

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to create the conditions to revert these trends. And so it is clear we

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need to strengthen multilateral capacity to address conflicts, to

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sort conflicts and to prevent and sustain this. This is an area where

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the European cooperation with the United Nations is absolutely

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crucial. We need to strengthen our own capacity to solve many of the

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conflicts around the world, but that forces us to look into their nature,

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like with Syria. They are, nobody is winning. Everybody is losing, and

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not only is everybody losing from the point of view of the citizens of

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the country, with the enormous suffering of the Syrian people, but

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we see the impact on the destabilisation of the region and we

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see Syria clearly as one of the feeding factors of global terrorism.

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The point is that we need to create the conditions to make those that

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are party to the conflict but especially those that have an

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influence on the parties of the conflict to see that indeed these

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are conflict in which nobody is winning, everybody is losing, and in

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which the contradictions of interests are much smaller than the

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absolute need to put an end to this nonsense and eliminate this terrible

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threat for our own global security. APPLAUSE

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And they are, as I said, we need to strengthen the capacity of the

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United Nations. And those in conflict, resolution. Peace is our

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important priority but we will not be able to do that without the

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strong support and commitment of the European Union. A strong and united

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Europe is an absolutely fundamental pillar of a strong and effective

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United Nations, and this is a very clear message I would like to

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address to you all. APPLAUSE

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But in these conflicts we also see horrible violations of international

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law and human rights law, and that is why I would like to mention the

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second challenge. It relates to the fact that we see the human rights

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agenda losing ground to the national sovereignty agenda. That should not

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make sense. National sovereignty is a central pillar of the United

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Nations Charter and indeed it is reinforced when countries are able

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and governments are able to protect their citizens and preserve human

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rights in their territories. But unfortunately we have seen national

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sovereignty many times being invoked to justify the lack of capacity of

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the international community to address the terrible human rights

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violations and challenges we see in several parts of the world. It is my

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belief we need to mobilise a broader coalition for human rights. And a

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broader coalition that is able to understand that we only strengthen

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national sovereignty by strongly promoting and protecting human

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rights all over the world. But for that coalition to be effective I

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think we need to match conditions. Firstly, we need to have a

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comprehensive view of human rights. Civil and political rights, but also

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economic, social and cultural rights, and secondly, it is

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important not to be biased, not to have double standards or hidden

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agendas. I think it is absolutely crucial to understand human rights

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are evaluating themselves and should not be used at the service of other

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political projects. APPLAUSE

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-- human rights are a value in themselves. To be very frank, if we

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want to champion human rights we need to have more authority. And the

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recent migration and refugee crisis in the world has undermined to a

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certain extent the moral authority of several countries around the

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world to champion human rights in an effective way. This is why I want to

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see how important it is from my perspective for the strong

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commitment of the European Union, together with us, in making sure we

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are able to establish the international protection regime for

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refugees in international law, and to have Europe strongly engaged in a

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positive and constructive dialogue in the preparation of the global

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rules on safe and orderly migration which I hope will be approved by the

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UN General Assembly in 2018. In addition to this I would like to

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make a few comments. Firstly, it is essential that development

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cooperation policies are linked to all concerned with human mobility.

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It is essential these policies are built in a way that allowed people

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to have the choice to remain in their countries, to have

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opportunities to be able to build their lives with dignity in their

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own countries. For migration to be out of choice, not necessity.

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APPLAUSE Secondly, I think it is essential to

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have a much stronger international coordination in cracking down on

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traffics and smugglers which are in my opinion the worst criminals into

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de's world. -- traffickers. I think it is also important to create more

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opportunities for illegal migration, between countries of origin, transit

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and destination. I think the European Union must be at the centre

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of this dialogue and can be extreme positive to find the necessary

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common ground to make this a success. Now, this massive

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displacement we are witnessing into de's world brings me to the third

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challenge I wanted to mention. That has to do with the fact that if you

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look at the global megatrends we face... -- this massive displacement

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we are witnessing in today's world. Food insecurity, which is

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unfortunately now translated into famine in some critical areas where

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conflict and climate change have been aligning themselves to create

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terrible human tragedies. Water scarcity. All of these major trends

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are interacting with each other in a stronger way in a world that is

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getting smaller, and they are having a dramatic impacts in the increasing

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fragility of states, increasing displacement of people and the

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increasing human suffering in the world, and creating in several

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circumstances the potential for conflict over scarce resources. Now,

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in this context it is important to recognise if climate change is the

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main accelerator of these factors, and it being the main accelerator of

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these factors it is absolutely essential that the world implement

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the Paris Agreement and implements leader implement it with increased

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ambition -- and implement it with increased ambition. And if any

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government doubts this objective, the reason for all others to come

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together and make sure we stay the course in relation to the

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implementation of the Paris Agreement, and that we build a

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broader coalition with civil society, with the business

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community, with the cities, the regions, in order to be able to make

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sure that our emissions are met and we are able to deal with climate

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change to the benefit of our present situation but also to the benefit of

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our children and grandchildren. And in relation to this it is also

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important to understand it is not only the right thing to do but the

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smart thing to do, as Green businesses are becoming more and

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more recognised as good business, and those countries not in the green

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economy will inevitably lag behind in development in the years to come.

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So it is the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do and we

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count on Europe to read this effort at a global level. -- to lead this

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effort. APPLAUSE

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But indeed one of the key impacts climate change is the acceleration

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of displacement, very much linked to the problems of migration and

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refugees that I mentioned. This brings me to a forced challenge.

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Globalisation has had an enormous positive impact, as I mentioned,

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together with technological development, in relation to wealth,

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living conditions, reduction of poverty, as I said in the beginning

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of my intervention. But globalisation left a lot of people

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behind. And we see that in the rust belts of this world, in youth

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unemployment in parts of the world, but very clearly in North Africa and

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the Middle East, which represent a tragedy for young people, a very

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strong limitation for the development of the countries but

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more and more meaningful threat for our global security, as youth

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without employment, without jobs and opportunities, is becoming in some

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areas of the world one of the key areas of recruitment for terrorist

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groups, and one of the factors that facilitates the propaganda of

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extremist organisations. Edessa -- now, we need to recognise

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technological progress also has dramatically increased inequalities,

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at global and country level. Eight people in the world today have as

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much wealth as half of the world's population. All of these factors

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have contributed to undermine the trust, between people and the

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political establishments at national level, but also the trust between

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people and international organisations like the UN and the

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trust in global solutions for our global problems. That is the reason

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why I am strongly engaged in the reform of the UN to be able to make

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it more effective, more cost-effective, but also more than

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anything else to make the UN closer to the aspirations, the needs and

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the perspectives, of the people we are supposed to serve. That means

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for us the reform of the UN development system, to make it much

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more effective in supporting member states in the implementation of the

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agenda, which we hope that an agenda for sustainable development, can

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bring a very important contribution to re-establish that trust between

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people and the international systems, based on bringing and

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making sure no one is left behind, making sure we have a fair

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globalisation and at the same time the reform of our peace strategy,

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operational setups and architecture, in order to make us more able to

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face the challenges mainly of today, peacekeeping. We have more cases

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where peace is elusive and peacekeepers see themselves in the

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middle of the conflict with extreme difficulty is to protect the people

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they are supposed to protect. This requires a strategic analysis, and

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new partnerships, namely with the African Union, several African

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regional organisations, but very central cooperation with the EU in

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this regard. And reform of our own internal management system. Some of

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the rules and regulations that were accumulated in the UN seem to be

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created to make sure we are not able to act effectively, and we need to

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make sure we create the trust between member states, namely

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Western countries and the G77, to make sure there is a win-win

:22:10.:22:13.

solution to make it more flexible, but at the same time with

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decentralisation, the procedures, freedom of movement of the

:22:19.:22:20.

Secretariat, but at the same thing with more transparency and

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accountability to make sure there is the responsibility for anything we

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do. reform is essential at the level of the un, as it is at the level of

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all international organisations, but also the understanding that we need

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to rebuild that trust, both of country and global level. All of our

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societies are becoming multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious. In

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my opinion this is a good thing, and I believe diversity is a richness,

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not a threat. But it would be naive to think...

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APPLAUSE It would be naive to think diversity

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will be an automatic success, for diversity to be a success we need a

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massive investment. A political, social, cultural investment. By

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governments, local authorities, civil societies, in the social

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cohesion and inclusivity of our societies. To make sure that

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people... APPLAUSE

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To make sure that people understand that their identities are respected

:23:39.:23:41.

but at the same time that they belong to the community as a whole

:23:42.:23:46.

with all its rights and obligations. And at the same time we need, at

:23:47.:23:52.

global level, to understand that diversity will not be automatically

:23:53.:23:58.

a source of peace and understanding. That we also need a massive

:23:59.:24:03.

investment in international cooperation to bring people

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together, to make people know and respect each other, cooperate with

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each other, and to do it in a way which means it is possible to have

:24:13.:24:15.

everybody working together to face the global challenges that are in

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front of us and that no country can solve in isolation.

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Allow me to say a few words as a European. It is in this context that

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I believe the values of the Enlightenment are the most important

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contribution that Europe has given to world civilisation. And that

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those values must a very solid cornerstone of our capacity to build

:24:49.:24:55.

a more tolerant, more fair, more just, more peaceful and more

:24:56.:24:59.

prosperous world. Thank you very much.

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TRANSLATION: Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy that I can welcome

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here the French president, who has been inaugurated yesterday, I am

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very happy

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