27 February 2017

Activities of Secretary-General in United Arab Emirates, 12-14 February

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Dubai from Saudi Arabia late in the evening of Sunday, 12 February, where he spoke on Monday at the World Government Summit.

In his remarks to the plenary, he focused on the lack of trust in today’s world, including between peoples, between Governments and peoples, between countries and in relation to governance in global multilateral institutions.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18435.)

He said that the need to improve governance and improving confidence between Governments and people, is essential and it is a condition to improve the confidence in the relations between countries.  For that, it is also important to have confidence in relation to global multilateral institutions and there is also a lack of confidence that is obvious.  “If you look at the United Nations, for instance, there is a clear lack of confidence in the Security Council today and clear perception that the Security Council no longer corresponds to the logic of today’s world in relation to what the world was after the Second World War, when the Security Council was built.”

It is clear, he said, that many international organizations lack the efficiency and the capacity to respond effectively to the problems they face.  He noted the difficulties in ending the global financial crisis, that “there is a need also for deep reforms in global institutions.  Reforms that have to do with power relations, namely in the case of the Security Council, or the way votes are distributed in international financial institutions.”  But, also, “reforms that we need introduce in all aspects of what we do.”

Mr. Guterres said he was committed to driving reform of the United Nations as head of the Secretariat:  from adapting the United Nations peace and security architecture to make sure it is interlinked with sustainable and inclusive development, together with human rights improvements, as a way of addressing the root causes of conflict, to management reform to reforming the United Nations development system to be make it more effective and accountable.  Without restoring trust at the country level, between countries and with multilateral organizations, “we will be able to address the very difficult challenges that we face today”, he said.

On the sidelines of the meeting in Dubai, the Secretary-General met with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai.

He also met with Dr. Amal al Qubaisi, President of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council.  The Secretary-General also visited the Headquarters of the Al Arabiya News Channel.

The Secretary-General then flew to Abu Dhabi, where he stayed overnight.  There, he met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

On Tuesday, 14 February, Mr. Guterres flew to Oman.

For information media. Not an official record.