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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks at the press encounter with H.E. Mr. Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland

Warsaw, 20 November 2013

Thank you for this very kind generosity and support to the United Nations.

I’d like to thank the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, for convening and opening this COP19 conference yesterday and I sincerely hope that under his leadership this COP 19 will bring a very concrete result, and become a very important stepping stone until 2015 when we expect and when we hope that a global, legal agreement will be signed by that time.

Poland has been playing an important role in the United Nations. As a country that has undergone a successful political and economic transition, its experiences and lessons are especially valuable at a time when many other countries are looking to make similar transformations. I offer Poland early congratulations on next year’s 25th anniversary of the momentous events that brought about a new era for the country.

Prime Minister Tusk and I had a very constructive meeting. As he had already briefed what we have discussed I will be very brief.

We talked about how to strengthen the already close ties between the United Nations and Poland.

I briefed the Prime Minister on my plan to convene a diplomatic conference on Syria that I hope will be the beginning of the end of the fighting. That is what the people of Syria need, and we continue to make every effort to be able to hold the conference in mid-December.

We also discussed the aftermath of the typhoon in the Philippines. The UN humanitarian operation is making progress. Roads are being cleared. Food and fuel are on the move. Water and medicine are reaching people in need. I encourage people across the world to show their solidarity with the Philippines at this time and contribute to the response.

Extreme weather also showed its face yesterday in Sardinia. While it is of course impossible to link any single storm with climate change, the growing frequency and magnitude of such weather events is consistent with what science is telling us to expect from a warming world.

Prime Minister Tusk and I naturally spent a good deal of time talking about the climate change conference.

Mr. Prime Minister, at yesterday’s opening session you spoke about the “universal need for caring”.

I agree that we are all in this together. We need to work together. We need to be united and we need to have solidarity among all the people around the world.

No single country, no single organization, can address the problem on its own. Yet every single country can benefit from climate action at the global level.

Multilateral climate solutions are in the national interest. However, the issue is still seen too often through a narrow domestic lens.

The Climate Summit I will convene September next year is meant to help us raise our ambition and widen our vision.

Next year will require a lot of heavy lifting if we are to remain on track for an agreement in 2015.

I hope all states will make climate change a priority – from policy-making to budget allocations.

I urge the developed world in particular to show political leadership. The developed countries have great capacity and should lead by example. I have asked Prime Minister Tusk and the European Union as a whole to lead by example.

Science is telling us we need to do more. Economists are highlighting the huge cost of inaction. Businesspeople want the signals from government that will create the right incentives to build a low-carbon future.

I again thanked the Prime Minister and Poland for hosting this important meeting.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my great appreciation to Mr. Marcin Korolec, the President of COP 19, for his strong leadership and the support he has provided for this very important endeavour.

I am committed to work with him continuously until we meet the target of reaching a global, legal document by 2015.

I also look forward to working closely with all government leaders and business leaders to ensure meaningful and integrated Polish action on climate and development issues at a crucial time for these closely related agendas.

I urge all those participating in this important climate meeting to make the most of their time here in Warsaw, and give the world the progress we need.

Thank you.