17/05/2017 European Parliament

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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.


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


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


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


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


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


which is to promote peace and prosperity, thanks to multilateral


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


meet the expectations of our citizens and deliver tangible


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


radicalisation, the management of migratory flows, but also climate


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


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


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


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


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


human rights are being increasingly flouted. Democracy is receiving in


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


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


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


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


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


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


particularly with regard to prevention and a rapid reaction to


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


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


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


beings and give confidence to future generations and implementing the


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


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


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


Secretary-General. Mr President, thank you very much


for your invitation and this opportunity to address the European


Parliament. I have been a parliamentarian in my own country


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


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


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


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


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


the creation of the European Community is, with one very


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


clearly the most successful project of this sustainability in the world


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


are my very deep gratitude and appreciation for the strong


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


multilateralism, and for the very generous and extreme heat important


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


better. It is obvious that globalisation and technological


progress in the last decades have created the conditions for an


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


improvement in the living conditions of the majority of the population


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


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


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


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


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


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


unprecedented challenges which require Europe and the UN to work


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


conflicts. We are seeing a multiplication of new conflicts in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conflicts becoming more and more interlinked and they are indeed


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


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


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


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


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


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


need to strengthen multilateral capacity to address conflicts, to


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


the European cooperation with the United Nations is absolutely


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are party to the conflict but especially those that have an


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


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


which the contradictions of interests are much smaller than the


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


threat for our own global security. APPLAUSE


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


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


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


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


Europe is an absolutely fundamental pillar of a strong and effective


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


address to you all. APPLAUSE


But in these conflicts we also see horrible violations of international


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


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


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


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


Nations Charter and indeed it is reinforced when countries are able


and governments are able to protect their citizens and preserve human


rights in their territories. But unfortunately we have seen national


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


the international community to address the terrible human rights


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


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


broader coalition that is able to understand that we only strengthen


national sovereignty by strongly promoting and protecting human


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


political projects. APPLAUSE


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


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


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


certain extent the moral authority of several countries around the


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


see how important it is from my perspective for the strong


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


are able to establish the international protection regime for


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


positive and constructive dialogue in the preparation of the global


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


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


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


cooperation policies are linked to all concerned with human mobility.


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


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


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


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


APPLAUSE Secondly, I think it is essential to


have a much stronger international coordination in cracking down on


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


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


opportunities for illegal migration, between countries of origin, transit


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unfortunately now translated into famine in some critical areas where


conflict and climate change have been aligning themselves to create


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


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


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


fragility of states, increasing displacement of people and the


increasing human suffering in the world, and creating in several


circumstances the potential for conflict over scarce resources. Now,


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


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


these factors it is absolutely essential that the world implement


the Paris Agreement and implements leader implement it with increased


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


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


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


implementation of the Paris Agreement, and that we build a


broader coalition with civil society, with the business


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


effort. APPLAUSE


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


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


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


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


together with technological development, in relation to wealth,


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


of my intervention. But globalisation left a lot of people


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


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


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


strong limitation for the development of the countries but


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


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


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


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


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


technological progress also has dramatically increased inequalities,


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


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


have contributed to undermine the trust, between people and the


political establishments at national level, but also the trust between


people and international organisations like the UN and the


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


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


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


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


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


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


more effective in supporting member states in the implementation of the


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


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


people and the international systems, based on bringing and


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


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


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


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


where peace is elusive and peacekeepers see themselves in the


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


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


new partnerships, namely with the African Union, several African


regional organisations, but very central cooperation with the EU in


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


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


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


make sure we create the trust between member states, namely


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


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


decentralisation, the procedures, freedom of movement of the


Secretariat, but at the same thing with more transparency and


accountability to make sure there is the responsibility for anything we


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


all international organisations, but also the understanding that we need


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


societies are becoming multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious. In


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


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


APPLAUSE It would be naive to think diversity


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


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


governments, local authorities, civil societies, in the social


cohesion and inclusivity of our societies. To make sure that


people... APPLAUSE


To make sure that people understand that their identities are respected


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


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


global level, to understand that diversity will not be automatically


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


investment in international cooperation to bring people


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


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


everybody working together to face the global challenges that are in


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


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


I believe the values of the Enlightenment are the most important


contribution that Europe has given to world civilisation. And that


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


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


prosperous world. Thank you very much.


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


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


very happy