Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

15 July 2014

Secretary-General's remarks to the press

Señor Presidente, muchas gracias por vuestra calurosa acogida y hospitalidad.


It is a privilege for me to visit the Dominican Republic and its magnificent capital city of Santo Domingo for the first time as Secretary-general of the United Nations. I would like to thank President Medina for accommodating me on this very special night. I understand this is a very special night for the Dominican Republic [because of] the baseball All-Star game which is now happening in the United States and I wish you luck all the best.


I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to discuss on matters of common concerns.


The Dominican Republic has been a long-standing partner of the United Nations and they have been playing a very important role in this part of the world.  The United Nations really appreciated this strong support.


We had a very constructive, very good meeting covering all the matters concerning this region and this country.


On the development agenda, the Dominican Republic is making important strides toward achieving food security, advancing education and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS. When it comes to education, I have highly commended President Medina for his long term vision to invest, to prioritize education, by investing 4 percent of the total GNP. This is a good investment for the future of the Dominican Republic.


I commend the Government of the Dominican Republic’s efforts to achieve faster progress toward the Development Goals in 2015 in areas such as child and maternal mortality.


I welcome the Dominican Republic’s strong engagement in two other processes that are central to the priorities of the United Nations at this time. One is shaping the future development agenda, what we call the post-2015 development agenda in the name of sustainable development. I appreciate the delegation of the Dominican Republic actively engaging in negotiations at the United Nations. And I sincerely hope that Member States will be able to define as soon as possible the Sustainable Development Goals aiming for 2030 by when all the people around the world will be able to live with harmony and prosperity and dignity – where no one will be left behind.


Another important issue is to conclude a global legal agreement on climate change. As you know, climate change is a defining issue of our times.  


The Dominican Republic is very vulnerable country when it comes to climate change impact. I have invited President Medina to a climate change summit meeting which I will convene on 23 September. I sincerely hope that the President will come with ambitious and bold and visionary targets and explain to the Member States so that others Member States can emulate such targets.


Also, I would like to commend your commitment in disaster risk reduction, disaster preparation and I really appreciate such important policies.


The United Nations is very committed to have a global agreement by 2015 in Paris next year. And I have asked President Medina, as the Peruvian Government is going to host this COP-20 in December this year,  all the countries in this continent should work together […] and I hope that the countries in Latin America will come out with a very solid, united, regional view so that we will be able to have good results with this. 


As I said, the Dominican Republic is particularly vulnerable to climate change. It is taking a leadership role in regional efforts to mitigate climate change and strengthen climate resilience.


I particularly applaud the Government’s support for a more effective response to natural disasters through the HOPEFOR Initiative.


I have also come from a visit to Haiti, yesterday and today, and I thank the Dominican Republic for its support to its neighbour, both bilaterally and through our UN Mission.


Strengthening bilateral relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is essential for the long-term social and economic development of both countries.


I am encouraged that under the leadership of President Medina and also President Martelly, the high level committee has been initiated and working on improving and strengthening trade and economic and social cooperation and custom cooperation as well as preventing drug-trafficking issues. This is a highly commendable initiative to foster closer relations.


Recent efforts by the Dominican Government to address the situation of irregular migrants living in the country have been very positive, with the adoption of a Regularization Plan last November.


With a large majority of immigrants coming from Haiti, it is critical that the Governments of Haiti and Dominican Republic cooperate closely to provide the necessary identification for Haitians living and working in the Dominican Republic.


Let me conclude by commending President Medina for his leadership in the adoption by the Dominican Congress in May of a law that addresses the problem facing thousands of Dominican-born persons of foreign descent.


The new law is an important step toward the recognition of the Dominican nationality of these individuals.


I encourage the Dominican authorities to keep working hard to resolve statelessness and protect human rights.


The United Nations and the Dominican Republic enjoy a very close and vibrant partnership.


I am confident that our partnership will yield an important contribution to the post-2015 development agenda, the mitigation of climate change and the protection of human rights, especially of the most vulnerable and marginalized.


And I am deeply honoured and privileged to have this opportunity of visiting your great country. I am confident that under your leadership the Dominican Republic will make great progress to make this society much more prosperous, much more harmonious and [give it] a much brighter future.


Thank you.