Lima, Peru

2 December 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at press conference with President Ollanta Humala of Peru and LI Yong, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) [scroll down for Q&A]

Es un gran placer poder visitar el Peru otra vez. [It is a great pleasure to visit Peru again.]

I thank President Ollanta Humala and the Government and people of Peru for their warm welcome.

I just had a very productive meeting with President Humala. First of all, I would like to reiterate my thanks to President Humala and his Government for hosting this very important fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference, as this has given me the opportunity to return to Peru.

I deeply value Peru – and I am especially proud to follow the footsteps of a great son of Peru, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Javier Perez de Cuellar. I also applaud Peru for serving on key UN bodies including the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

The President and I discussed Peru’s significant contributions to the United Nations' priorities, including peacekeeping, disarmament affairs and its leading role on climate change, sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda discussions.

We discussed the country’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals and efforts to promote social inclusion. President Humala has adopted social inclusion, poverty reduction and reduction of inequalities as main priorities of the Government’s policies. I welcome the recent launch of the Report on the Millennium Development Goals which clearly sets out its roadmap to accomplish its target.

We also talked about Peru’s legislation to promote and protect the right to consultation of indigenous peoples and efforts to ensure its effective implementation. I highly appreciate the President’s strong commitment to gender balance in his cabinet and his administration's campaign on ending violence against women.

We exchanged views about the situation in Syria and other global issues.

This is a crucial time to come together. The world is facing what I call a crossroads moment for sustainable development. Peru is central to these efforts.

There are three big tasks before us: We must accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals; establish a post-2015 development agenda; and finalize a new global legal climate change agreement by 2015.

The deadline for all these objectives is just around the corner -- the year 2015. We have much work between now and then.

Countries are gathering here for this UNIDO General Conference to commit to eradicating poverty through “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development”.

I am pleased that through its work here in Lima, UNIDO has fully embraced the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and is on track for continued progress.

Addressing the threat of climate change is essential to all of our efforts. As President of the Conference of Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention, President Humala and the Government of Peru will now play an absolutely critical role. President Humala and I talked about the hard work that is needed in the year ahead.

One year from now, when Peru hosts the 20th Session of the Conference of Parties, will be a vital moment. Success next year in Lima will be key to finalizing an ambitious, legal climate agreement in 2015.

Once again, I salute President Humala and the Peruvian Government for your global leadership and commitment.

I thank you for your active engagement across the agenda of the United Nations – from peacekeeping to disarmament, particularly in Haiti, and from achieving the Millennium Development Goals to protecting and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Together we can build a better, sustainable world for all.

Thank you very much. Muchas gracias.

Q: [In Spanish on recent developments in Thailand and Ukraine, and on Iran will participate in the forthcoming Geneva II conference on Syria]

SG: Muchas gracias. Of course this not my first time [in Peru], this is my second time as Secretary-General of the United Nations, but you can easily understand that I will be here next year to participate in and to open this climate summit meeting in December next year. Before that, I have visited in previous capacities [as a] Republic of Korea senior government official, and I [am] really [enjoying] my visit this time.

On these two specific questions, let me express my position, the UN position.

On the situation in Ukraine, I have been closely following events in Ukraine. I appeal to all parties to act with restraint, avoid any further violence and to uphold the democratic principles of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. I believe that meaningful dialogue between all concerned should be encouraged, in the pursuit of a prosperous future for Ukraine and mutual agreement among Ukrainians on the path forward for their own country.

And again, about the current situation in Thailand, I am concerned about the escalation of violence in Bangkok in recent days and express regret over the loss of lives and injuries. I also note with concern the repeated attempts by protestors to forcefully seize government buildings and media outlets. I once more call for all sides to exercise utmost restraint and to resolve political differences through dialogue, through peaceful means.  All parties need to observe full respect for democratic principles, the rule of law, and human rights, including freedom of expression.

On your second question, as you know I have announced the date of the Geneva II conference which will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. The preparatory meeting will be held again on 20 December in Geneva among the parties. There, we hope we will be able to agree and decide on the list of invitees, who should be invited there. Of course, the question of whether Iran should be invited to this meeting, I and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi have made it clear in the past that Iran should better be invited to this meeting. Of course, that depends upon all the parties concerned for the final list of invitees. Iran can play a very important role. When and if there is an agreement, this agreement should be adhered [to] and implemented by all the parties who can play an important role in the region. I believe that Iran is one such country who can play an imporatnt role. But I have not yet decided. This is a matter for consultations among the parties concerned, and I hope that I will be able to issue invitations to the parties concerned by the end of this month. Thank you.

Q: [In Spanish on the UN’s expectations of Peru in the area of industrialization]

SG: In my meeting with President Humala, I commended highly the national priority policies of his Government on industrialization. As one of the upper middle-income countries, Peru has a [role] to play in the further advancing their economic and social development though industrialization. Of course, depending upon the level of their economies, countries can take their own priorities. Some countries, advanced countries, pay more attention on this financing as well as servicing industries, but a country like Peru and many developing countries should really focus more on industrialization – inclusive, sustainable industrialization. That's one thing.

What we expect from Peru at this time, who has [performed] successfully on many pillars of the Millennium Development Goals, for example, Peru has already met the target well ahead of the deadline, this cutting in half the number of people living in abject poverty, that is one good thing. And Peru has achieved near parity between boys and girls in primary education.  This is quite an impressive one. And of course there are other areas Peru should accelerate to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals, and I appreciate such inclusive development [efforts] of President Humala.

And most importantly at this time, what I have asked President Humala is for him and his Government to demonstrate their strong political leadership and commitment in helping move ahead this current level of negotiations on climate change. As chair of 20th COP, Conference of Parties on climate change, December next year, we count on the leadership and commitment of President Humala and his Government’s leadership to make an important contribution as a stepping stone to the final destination of the 2015 Paris conference, where we expect that a global agreement on climate change will be adopted.  Muchas gracias.