18 September 2018

Leaders Must Be Bold, Ready to Forge Solutions for Climate Change, Gender Disparity, Secretary-General Says at Opening of General Assembly Session

Following are UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks to the opening of the seventy‑third session of the General Assembly, in New York today:

Permítame empezar esta intervención felicitando una vez más su Excelencia María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés de Ecuador por su elección como presidenta de la sesión setenta y tres de la asamblea general.

She brings wide‑ranging diplomatic and intergovernmental experience to the role, as well as deep knowledge of the international agenda.  She already knows the United Nations quite well, having served as Permanent Representative in Geneva.  And of course, in addition to being the first woman to become her country’s Permanent Representative, she is now the fourth woman to serve as President of the General Assembly — and the first in more than a decade.  I am sure that this additional perspective will enrich and advance our work.  Your presence, Madame President, is the guarantee that gender parity is on the move.

We have a busy session ahead of us.  We need action for peacekeeping, gender parity, financing for the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development], empowerment for the world’s young people, urgent steps to end poverty and conflict, and much else.  I encourage you to tell your leaders to come to next week’s high‑level week ready to be bold and ready to forge solutions for our global challenges.

Looking farther ahead, there are important gatherings on the calendar that can solidify progress on key global challenges.  The Conference of Parties to the climate convention will gather in Poland in December.  Climate impacts continue to worsen and accelerate — and our actions and ambition are nowhere near where they need to be to avoid catastrophe.   Fortunately, technology is on our side, and much is happening towards a green economy that we can build on.  Let’s make sure that Katowice is a success.

Also in December, Heads of State and Government will meet in Marrakech to formally adopt a landmark Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  Implementing this Compact can help us reap the widespread benefits of migration while protecting people against dangerous journeys, exploitation and discrimination.  I look forward to its formal adoption.

This Assembly has a vital role to play on these and all other issues.  At a time of fragmentation and polarization, the world needs this Assembly to show the value of international cooperation.  The Secretariat and I are committed to supporting you and strengthening the ways in which we work together.  Madame President, I wish you and all Member States every success as we strive to achieve our shared goals.

For information media. Not an official record.