United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres departed New York on Wednesday evening, 9 October, and arrived in Copenhagen early on Thursday morning, 10 October.
His first appointment that day was a working lunch with the Foreign Policy Committee of the Danish Parliament.
The Secretary-General held a townhall meeting with some 1,000 United Nations staff at UN City, one of the most sustainable buildings of its kind in Scandinavia.
Also, at UN City, together with the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Rasmus Prehn, the Secretary-General officially opened the UN refugee agency/World Bank Joint Data Centre on Forced Displacement. This project aims at allowing for decisions affecting refugees, internally displaced people, asylum-seekers and others to be made in a more timely and evidence-based manner.
The Secretary-General said at the opening ceremony that he hopes the new centre would help to provide more accurate data that can help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and help the world’s most vulnerable people.
The Secretary-General and Minister Prehn toured a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warehouse, which has been the agency’s supply and emergency kit packing operation since 1963 and is the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse today. The Secretary-General and the Minister saw first hand the state-of-the-art, automated work done in the warehouse and also packed humanitarian kits for schoolchildren in Yemen.
The Secretary-General then held a press conference at the C40 World Mayors Summit, where he was introduced by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who thanked the Secretary-General for his initiatives on climate change.
Building on the momentum generated by the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, the Secretary-General told the media that cities are critical, and they are largely where the battle will be won or lost. He stressed the need to build infrastructure that will serve the carbon-neutral cities of tomorrow. “If we build today infrastructures that are not green, we will have consequences in the decades to come,” he said.
The Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, followed by a joint press encounter.
In his remarks to the media, the Secretary-General praised Denmark’s leadership in combating climate change, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and transitioning to a green economy.
He also expressed his deep concern over the escalation of the conflict in eastern Syria, emphasizing that military operations must always respect the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law.
The Secretary-General ended his evening by attending a dinner hosted by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, also attended by high-level participants at the C40 Summit.
On the morning of Friday, 11 October, the Secretary-General gave the keynote address at a plenary session titled “The future we want is inclusive — and climate action must lift everyone up” at the C40 Summit. (See Press Release SG/SM/19808.)
“We have the knowledge, the technology and the resources to address the climate emergency and to promote sustainable and inclusive development for all,” the Secretary-General said in his remarks, adding that “what is still missing at many levels is political will.” He underlined the key role that cities can play in addressing the climate emergency, noting that some 100 cities committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at September’s Climate Action Summit.
The Secretary-General then met with Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris and the outgoing chair of the C40; Lord Mayor Frank Jensen of Copenhagen; and Mark Watts, Executive Director of the C40.
The Secretary-General’s final appointment in Copenhagen before departing was an audience with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.