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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General’s remarks to the press in Nairobi {with Q&A}

Nairobi, Kenya, 28 June 2014

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be back in Kenya.

I thank President Kenyatta and the Government and people of Kenya for their hospitality. I had a productive meeting with the President today.

Yesterday I attended the closing ceremony of the inaugural United Nations Environment Assembly.

The ambitious first session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) concluded its five-day deliberations very late last night with 16 decisions and resolutions and a ministerial outcome document.

These decisions encourage international action on major environmental issues ranging from air pollution and the illegal trade in wildlife to plastic debris in the oceans and chemical and waste.

UNEA gave significant attention to the sustainable development goals, including sustainable consumption and production, and I know that its attention to ensuring the effective integration of the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development will contribute to the shaping of the post-2015 agenda.

Climate change was a feature of many of the discussions, and will remain a top priority as the world moves towards a meaningful universal legal climate agreement in Paris next year.

To mobilize political momentum and catalyse ambitious action on the ground I am convening a Climate Summit on 23 September in New York for leaders from Government, business, finance and civil society.

One area where we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as fulfil the need for sustainable energy for all is through the greater use of renewable energy.

Renewable energy is a dynamic market that is fast evolving and maturing.

Kenya is a leader in such innovative development, with substantial solar, wind and geothermal renewable energy projects.

To get the world on a trajectory to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, we need more large-scale projects such as Kenya is backing.

To do that, we need to generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year in climate financing from public and private sources.

This will be one of the priority topics of the Climate Summit.

Kenya is emerging as a leader in renewable energy policies.

It is also a longstanding giant in the word of conservation.

Millions of tourists have visited the country to marvel at Kenya’s wonderful national parks and reserves.

But here, and all over the world, wildlife is under threat from habitat destruction, conflict between humans and wildlife and from illegal wildlife trafficking.

As a token of my concern, and my support for the Kenya Wildlife Service, I have adopted a lion cub today, Tumaini, which means hope in Kiswahili.

But wildlife crime is not simply a threat to animals.

With its links to organised crime and even insurgent groups, it is a major security issue.

The same routes used to smuggle wildlife and timber across countries and continents are often used to smuggle weapons, drugs and people.

I commend the bravery of the Kenya Wildlife Service and park rangers around the world who risk their lives and sacrifice so much to protect natural resources.

Thank you.


Questions & Answers

Q: Do you think Governments have done enough against illegal wildlife trade and poaching? 

A: This country, Kenya, is blessed with a diversity of people and wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Millions of tourists have visited the country to marvel at Kenya’s treasures.

Unfortunately, the wildlife is under pressure and many animals are now an endangered species. There is a lot of trafficking and poaching of these animals and this is killing our ecosystems. We have to preserve wildlife.

As a token of my strong support and solidarity with the Kenyan people, who are doing an excellent job at preserving our Mother Nature and ecosystems, I have adopted this morning a young six-month old lion cub. Her name is Tumaini, which in Kiswahili means hope.

I adopted this lion cub with the hope that all human beings and animals can live in peace and harmony. Human beings should know how to live harmoniously with our Mother Nature.

And as a more political hope, I really want to see a climate change deal be adopted by the end of next year and I also want to see Member States shape the post-2015 development agenda. Those are my sincere hopes.

In fact, this is not the first time that I adopt an animal. When I was in South Sudan, in 2008, I was offered by President Salva Kiir a bull that was named, jokingly at the time, Ban Ki-moon.

Then, when I visited Mongolia, I was given a horse of very precious and rare species. I named it ‘peace’ in Mongolian.

So I know have three animals: a bull, a horse and a lion. I sincerely hope that this young lion will grow healthy and strong, and even fierce, and will be able to have her own cubs in the near future, to make this wildlife rich, healthy and sustainable.

At the same time, I’m urging all people around the world: let’s protect our wildlife. It is very important that we live together harmoniously.

Q: The security challenges in Africa have been linked to illegal trade of wildlife. What should the Governments of the region do?

A: International terrorism has become the deepest concern for all of us, not only in East or West Africa but all over the world. This terrorism issue should be addressed comprehensively.

We have to see why it takes place. First of all, political leaders should always engage in inclusive dialogue and inclusive policies, embracing all different people, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sex, age or wealth.

People should always be able to reach their world leaders. When people don’t have livelihood or a decent job to do, then they can be tempted to engage in crime. These crimes are getting even more violent, and with growing discontent, can turn into terrorism. Therefore, we have to address all these issues.

Wildlife has indeed been used to fund terrorism, through illegal logging and illegal poaching. The United Nations, through its global counter-terrorism strategy, is trying to provide the necessary assistance and work together with African countries.

I have discussed in depth with President Kenyatta this morning how the UN and the Kenyan Government can work together, particularly in reinforcing and enhancing the capacity of Kenyan security forces: how to train, how to orient them.

In Nigeria’s case of the sad and tragic abduction of 200 schoolgirls, I have dispatched my Special Envoy twice to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan. We have proposed a support package to help the families for when they will be released.

We have to address this problem very comprehensively. Not one single country or one single Organization can handle this on its own. We have to have unity and solidarity among Nations.

Thank you.