Activities of Secretary-General in France, 25-26 August

SG/T/3271
3 September 2019

Activities of Secretary-General in France, 25-26 August

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Biarritz, France, on the morning of Sunday, 25 August, to take part in the annual G7 summit.

Upon arrival, he tweeted that he was attending the gathering because taking action on climate change cannot wait.  “People all over the world want a greener, cleaner and safer world,” he said.  “We have the tools to address the climate emergency, but we need more political will.”

Also on arrival, he met with President Emmanuel Macron of France, host country of the G7 in 2019.

The Secretary-General took part in sessions on the fight against inequalities and on partnership with Africa.  He also held separate meetings with President Sebastián Piñera Echeñique of Chile and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

On Monday, 26 August, the Secretary-General spoke at a session on climate, biodiversity and oceans.  He tweeted that the G7 would be discussing partnership with Africa, inequality and climate, all of which corresponded with his own priority areas.  “These issues require strong political will and international cooperation more than ever,” he noted.

The Secretary-General also met with President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Before departing Biarritz, the Secretary-General spoke to reporters, stressing how we are facing a dramatic climate emergency.  He pointed out that July was the hottest month on record and that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the highest during human life.

The Secretary-General emphasized that we need more ambition and a stronger commitment, pointing out that society — the youth, in particular — are mobilizing ahead of the Climate Action Summit in New York in September.  He said the G7 summit was an excellent opportunity to appeal for the international community’s very strong engagement.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General departed France for Japan.

For information media. Not an official record.