Secretary-General Reports to Assembly on UN Role at Recent G-20 Summit, Points to Important 2012 Meetings to Further Continuing Objectives

10 November 2011

Secretary-General Reports to Assembly on UN Role at Recent G-20 Summit, Points to Important 2012 Meetings to Further Continuing Objectives

10 November 2011
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Reports to Assembly on UN Role at Recent G-20 Summit,


Points to Important 2012 Meetings to Further Continuing Objectives


This is the text of remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today at an informal plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the outcome of the recent G-20 (Group of Twenty) Summit in Cannes, France:

Mr. President of the General Assembly; Amb. Jean-David Levitte, diplomatic advisor to the President of France; Amb. Lourdes Aranda, Vice Foreign Minister and Mexican Sherpa for the G-20 — and I would like to particularly thank Amb. Levitte and Amb. Aranda for their taking part in this very important meeting, briefing on the results of the G-20 Summit meeting. 

Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey my own and the United Nations appreciation to President [Nicolas] Sarkozy for his brilliant and dynamic leadership in his presidency of the G-20, where G-20 leaders were solidly united to handle all the current and global challenges, including the euro zone crisis issues.  This briefing session will, I hope, further strengthen the role of the United Nations and the cooperative relationship between the G-20 and the United Nations as a whole.

As you know, the Summit took place in the context of faltering economic recovery and public protests about unemployment and social injustice.  The repercussions of the Greek crisis, and the threat of contagion to other euro zone economies, dominated the event.

Against this dramatic backdrop, I brought a consistent message to G-20 leaders:  Do not overlook the most vulnerable people.  Live up to past pledges.  Recognize that pro-poor investment is smart investment, for all.

On the economy, I emphasized that we need concerted international action of the same scope the G-20 took in 2009 in London.  I asked the G-20 leaders to seriously consider the options before them for innovative financing for development to supplement official development assistance.  And I expressed concern — both to the G-20 and also at the L-20 meeting of labour union representatives — about the need to put as many people as possible — as fast as possible — back to work.

In Cannes I emphasized that the United Nations will continue to broker multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve our common development goals.  Successful examples include our efforts on women’s and children’s health, food and nutrition security, and sustainable energy.

On food and nutrition security, the Summit highlighted the G-20’s commitment to a comprehensive approach that encourages sustainability, promotes resilience, benefits smallholders and protects the vulnerable.  The G-20 made advances on different fronts, including the Agricultural Market Information System to be housed at the Food and Agriculture Organisation.  It supported the exemption of food purchases for humanitarian purposes, especially by the World Food Programme, from export bans.  I urged the G-20 leaders to make sure that all these commitments lead to concrete actions.

The G-20 leaders welcomed my Sustainable Energy for All initiative.  I will continue to push for three goals to be achieved by 2030:  First:  universal access to modern energy services.  Second: doubling the rate at which we improve energy efficiency.  Third:  doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.  Together, these goals can help to end energy poverty and catalyze a clean energy revolution that benefits all humanity.

Looking ahead, sustainable development and climate change are the top priorities for the United Nations during the Mexican presidency of the G-20.

The G-20 put forward a welcome initiative to build on the work of my High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing.  As emphasized in the leaders’ declaration, the United Nations will work with other international financial institutions to help deliver on this objective.  A key immediate challenge is to get a scaled-up climate finance system up and running.  I called on the G-20 countries to ensure that disagreements on the design of the new Green Climate Fund are resolved before COP17 in Durban, so it can be launched.  This Fund must not be an empty shell. 

I also told G-20 leaders that I count on all Governments to help find a compromise solution in Durban for the Kyoto Protocol.  Even as we continue our efforts to secure a comprehensive climate agreement, we must not lose the important institutions associated with the Protocol.

Next June, we will have two crucial meetings:  the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Rio+20.  In this regard, I would like to inform the members of the General Assembly that, in close consultation with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, who is going to be the host country of the Rio+20 Summit meeting next year, the date has been changed from 4-6 June next year to 20-22 June, to facilitate the participation of leaders, avoiding diplomatic occasions which will take place around that time.  I hope the members will take note of those important dates — the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos will take place on 18 and 19 June, and Rio+20 will take place from 20 to 22 June.

The Rio+20 and G-20 Summits next year will be priceless opportunities to help shape the future.  In Cannes, I emphasized the importance of high-level engagement in Rio.  Sustainable development is a top priority for a simple reason — it cuts across all other priorities:  food and nutrition security, equitable development, and global security.  Only by working together can we rise to these challenges.

Thank you again, deeply to the Government of France and Amb. Levitte, and I count on the leadership of the President of Mexico and our distinguished Sherpa to make the next G-20 Summit a great success.

Thank you very much.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.