Buenos Aires, Argentina

7 November 2007

Secretary-General's "off the cuff" remarks at Argentina's National Congress

SG: We are very proud to have such a strong partnership between Argentina and the United Nations. You have been playing a very important role in the United Nations –all United Nations activities in peacekeeping, security, development and human rights. Not only have you overcome this financial crisis in 2001 and 2002, you are now known as a model case for achieving these democratic institutions [after] long military dictatorships in the 1970s. Your ratification of the international convention on the protection of human rights, and also the human rights of people who have disappeared [the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance], is very encouraging. Your commitment and steady progress in meeting the MDG [Millennium Development Goal] targets is also very encouraging.

I´d like to particularly commend your participation in peacekeeping, particularly in Haiti, through MINUSTAH. I was very much gratified and impressed by the way the Argentinean contingent had been making contributions to security and stability and development of Haiti. Your active participation in MINUSTAH and UNFICYP in Cyprus and in Kosovo and elsewhere is a demonstration of a firm commitment to contribute to international peace and security. I hope I can count on your continued support.

Now, on other issues, I´d like to ask Argentineans for more active support and contributions. The whole international community must cooperate fully in addressing climate change issues. This year I have taken my own initiative to galvanize political will and raise awareness of the international community. The scientists have made it quite clear that the international community has been feeling and suffering from the impact of global warming. We need to mobilize all available resources and experience and know-how. We have the technology and the resources. But what is lacking is political will at the leaders´ level. I need your strong political leadership, from the Parliament. The institutional relationship between the Executive Branch and Parliament is very important.

Now, the international community has been experiencing unusual natural catastrophes these days. This is, I think, partly owing to global warming. And the United Nations has taken the decision and leadership in establishing and leading central emergency response activities. I have asked Minister [Jorge] Taiana of the Foreign Ministry that Argentina´s Government contribute financially and [through] other material contributions to this [Central Emergency Response] Fund. He may come to you, and I hope you will support him. Again, I am very much grateful for all the support and active cooperation of your Parliament. As the Secretary-General of the UN, I regard parliamentary leaders as very important...When the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly need to be implemented, this needs support from the Parliament of each Member State´s Government.