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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General’s remarks at Joint Press Stakeout with His Excellency Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France and His Excellency Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of State for the Environment of Peru [Scroll down for English version]

Paris, France, 26 August 2015

Je suis très heureux d’être à nouveau en France.

J’ai eu des entretiens très fructueux avec Président François Hollande et le Ministre Laurent Fabius. Nous avons parlé de l’action que nous menons de concert pour promouvoir la paix et la stabilité en Ukraine, au Mali, en République centrafricaine, au Soudan du Sud, au Moyen-Orient et ailleurs.

Nous avons également fait le bilan des négociations sur les changements climatiques, à l’approche de la conférence très importante qui doit se tenir à Paris dans moins de 100 jours.

Aujourd’hui, j’ai eu l’honneur de m’adresser aux ambassadeurs de France, avec le Ministre de l’Environnement Pulgar-Vidal.  Je leur ai demandé d’user de leur influence pour mobiliser tous les pays et de tout faire pour que soit conclu un accord d’une véritable utilité, quivisera à limiter la hausse de la température mondiale à moins de 2 degrés Celsius, en ligne avec les décisions prises par la Conférence des Parties sur les changements climatiques à Lima, en décembre 2014.

M. Fabius et moi avons examiné un certain nombre d’autres questions de dimension planétaire qui ont des incidences à l’échelle des pays et des continents.

Il y a aujourd’hui plus de personnes déplacées qu’il n’y en a jamais eu depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale. En Syrie et ailleurs, des millions de gens fuient la violence et la persécution. D’autres tentent d’échapper à la pauvreté et cherchent des moyens de vivre dans la dignité. Ils entreprennent des voyages périlleux; ils ne devraient donc pas, à l’arrivée, rencontrer de nouvelles épreuves.

Je félicite les pays qui manifestent leur solidarité et j’invite les autres, en Europe et ailleurs, à faire preuve de compassion et à en faire beaucoup plus pour venir à bout de cette crise. Par notre intervention, nous devons sauver des vies, lutter contre la traite et la discrimination, apporter des solutions juridiques, examiner les causes profondes des problèmes et défendre les droits de l’homme.

L’extrémisme violent est également une source de préoccupation majeure. Nous avons été témoins, ces derniers jours, de massacres encore plus violents, et nous avons continué à assister à la destruction du précieux patrimoine culturel de Palmyre. Comme on vient de le voir ici-même, en France, où un attentat de masse a été évité, il faut à la fois être vigilant, pour déjouer les menaces, et ne pas se laisser submerger par la peur et la suspicion, comme le voudraient précisément ceux qui cherchent à terroriser.

Je remercie à nouveau le Gouvernement et le peuple français de leur rôle actif et de leur appui. Je me réjouis de revoir Presidemt François Hollande et Le Ministre Laurent Fabius à New York le mois prochain, quand les dirigeants de tous les pays du monde vont se réunir pour adopter le programme de développement pour 2030 et faire progresser les grands chantiers que nous avons ouverts.

Merci beaucoup.

Q: I would like to ask both the Secretary-General and you Minister. The Secretary-General has an interview in “Le Monde” this afternoon in which he denounces the slowness of negotiations and I wondered if it isn’t getting near the time where you should actually say who is responsible for this slowness? Should you not name names, name and shame people? And secondly, is it not your responsibility as Secretary-General of the United Nations, as President of COP-21, to kick people into line? So who is causing the slowness and what are you going to do about it?

Secretary-General: Thank you very much for asking me a very important question which I wanted to repeat my answer which I did with “Le Monde”. I have been really speaking out about this pace of negotiations. As you may recall, the Member States have been discussing and negotiating longer than 20 years. It was only in Peru last year [that] Member States have adopted a draft text – there was not even a text. Because this Paris meeting is going to be the final dead end where Member States have promised five times to agree on a universal and very meaningful and ambitious climate change agreement. Then there is no time to waste. The Member States, the negotiators have been doing business as usual time. They have been repeating what they have been doing during the last 20 years. We don’t have time to waste. We don’t have time to lose. Climate change is happening. It is clear that-- the world’s very best scientists have made it repeatedly clear that climate change is happening. It is much much faster than one may think. We have been experiencing such very extreme weather patterns and this is caused by the climate change phenomenon.  The scientists have made it clear that this climate change is now happening because of human behavior. Then we have to change and we have to accelerate this pace of negotiations. We don’t have much time, we have only less than a hundred days for final negotiations. When it comes to real negotiating days, we have just 10 days, legally speaking. It is not that every day they are negotiating. There are certain times for conference period where we have to negotiate. The new revised text has been circulated last month – 24 July. I sincerely hope that negotiators and ministers, they should look beyond their national interest. That is why I am asking world leaders to give a clear message to their negotiators that they should accelerate this negotiations. I am asking ministers of the world to give the negotiators clear direction. That is what I discussed yesterday with President Hollande, also Chancellor Merkel of Germany and President Humala of Pery, here at the Elysee. Now I am going to continue this one and I need the support of the media. Thank you very much.

Q: As you said, the deadline is only days and we have no more time to wait. As you say, negotiations will go on and we are going to find incentives and new rules to debate on this. What about the extent of power, the external impact of the economical actors? Is there any expectations to change the paradigm, to change the model and englobe the situation with conflict and the migrants,all that is parallel?

SG: I think the paradigm is now being changed. I am very much encouraged that, not only governments but also business community and civil society are raising their voices that this climate change agreement should be adopted as soon as possible. And I would like to emphasize in a broader context why this climate change [agreement] is necessary and this is a must. This year -2015- is a very important, crucially important year for humanity. Every year may be important for anybody for the world -- but particularly 2015 is a year for global action for humanity. The Member States have agreed on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ founding and at the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals, then there is firm agreement and commitment that we have a broader, much visionary and far-reaching development agenda, in the name of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is what we have been working on for many years and we are going to adopt this very far-reaching, ambitious global vision in September when the General Assembly begins. All world leaders, the largest ever in the history of the United Nations will come to the United Nations not only to celebrate the 70th anniversary but to do their political responsibility as world leaders to adopt this sustainable development agenda. Before that, last month in Addis Ababa, they have agreed after a lot of difficulties, after a lot of negotiations, the Financing for Development contained in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. These two are done already. Then, in the context, in the framework of all this global sustainable development agenda, [a] climate change [agreement] must be adopted this year. -- so all these are three priorities for humanity, for our nature, for our Planet Earth. I think Member States have had a very broad vision already. Under this vision, this climate change [agreement] must be adopted by the end of this year in Paris. Then why do I say that we don’t have time to waste: because we have seen so many natural impact, climate change impact in every part of the world. Climate change does not respect national boundaries. It is not the time [for] negotiators and world leaders to mind their own small territory of their national government or country. This is an issue [for] the whole world, whole humanity. Therefore, while the sustainable development agenda is people-centered, that means we have to eradicate abject poverty and provide all economic and social support – then this is also Planet Earth friendly. We have to live harmoniously with our world, with our Planet Earth. We have only one Planet Earth therefor we have to look at the broader picture. There is no time to look at the very small national interest. We have to work for global interest for our succeeding generations.

Q: [Questions in French on climate change and Syria]

SG: Let me do like this: I will try to answer about the situation in Syria and I would like to ask our two distinguished Ministers to answer about climate change relating to this oil price or other stock market situation. With your understanding, I will only answer one question. It has been really troubling and it is very sad that we continue to see the destruction of the country and killing of the people and even the destruction of all this cultural heritage. It is not acceptable, in the name of humanity, that we just sit and watch the people dying. More than at least 255,000 people have been killed. More than 4 million people have become refugees and more than 12 million people now need urgent humanitarian assistance in their own home country. This country is now being fragmentize. It is very sad. That is why, last month, in July, I together with my Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura reported to the Security Council [on] how we can initiate the political dialogue, whether it be called the Geneva 2 continuation or Geneva 3. That is what I have reported with the strong support of the Security Council. As you said, the Security Council has issued a very strong supporting statement. I and de Mistura have proposed to the Security Council, as a first step, to establish four working groups -- before we can be in a broader, bigger global conference to address these Syrian issues – dealing with military and security, safety and protection, institution building as well as reconciliation and development, and political and constitutional matters. Those are four working groups that we are working very hard to establish by the end of September. Of course, it is a little bit far away before we will be able to have a real political negotiations type of conference. That is why to operationalize this Geneva Communiqué which was adopted in June 2012, I have established these four working groups so that we can address all these issues before we can invite the concerned parties. Again, we have to be responsible. The international community showed strong solidarity and unity of purpose. Then are we going to continue to let these people be killed and this country, very proud historically and culturally. There is again no time to waste. I am asking the world leaders, particularly Security Council Members, to be united. The division of the Security Council, the division of the country, the division of the regional countries, that has made the very undesirable, very sad situation now. I am urging again the leaders of the region and the leaders of Syria and the leaders of the United Nations to be united to address this issue. Thank you.

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Remarks at Joint Press Stakeout with His Excellency Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France and His Excellency Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal Minister of State for the Environment of Peru 

Paris, 26 August 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be in France once again.

I have had very productive meetings with President Hollande and Foreign Minister Fabius.  We discussed our shared efforts to promote peace and stability in Ukraine, Mali, the Central African Republic, across the Middle East and elsewhere.

We also took stock of climate change negotiations as we edge closer to the crucially important conference that Paris will host in less than 100 days.

Earlier today, I had the honour to address France’s ambassadorial corps, alongside Minister of the Environment Pulgar-Vidal. Iurged them to use their influence to bring all countries on board and secure a meaningful agreement intended to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius that would follow from the decisions reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima in December 2014.

Foreign Minister Fabius and I also discussed a number of other global challenges with national and continental implications.

More people are displaced today than at any time since the Second World War.  Many millions are fleeing violence and persecution in Syria and elsewhere.  Others are seeking to escape poverty and looking for opportunities to lead a dignified life.  They are making perilous journeys and should not face yet another ordeal upon arrival.

I commend those countries that are showing solidarity, and I call on other countries in Europe and elsewhere to show compassion and do far more to respond to this crisis.  Our response must save lives, fight trafficking and stigma, provide legal channels, examine root causes and uphold human rights.

Violent extremism is another major area of concern.  We saw further outrages in recent days with yet more brutal killings and the continued destruction of precious cultural heritage at Palmyra.  As we saw with the recent potential mass attack here in France, we must be vigilant in addressing threats without ever becoming overcome by fear and suspicion, which is precisely the intent of those who seek to terrorize.
I again thank the Government and people of France for their engagement and support.

I look forward to seeing President Hollande and Foreign Minister Fabius in New York next month as world leaders gather to adopt the 2030 development agenda and to push ahead with our important work.

Thank you.


Off-the-Cuff on 26 August 2015