Berlin

26 November 2019

Secretary-General's Remarks to the Media during Joint Stakeout with Chancellor Angela Merkel

It is always a pleasure to be here in Germany, a steadfast supporter of the United Nations, a pillar of multilateralism, and currently, a very strong voice on the Security Council.

I am looking forward to my talks with Chancellor Merkel, focusing on some of the situations on the Security Council agenda, and particularly including Syria and Libya.

I believe that Syria has lasted too long. The suffering of the Syrian people is absolutely shocking. And now that we have the Constitutional Committee finally in place, it is time for all those involved in the Syrian conflict to start discussing the end, and to start creating conditions for a true political solution, led by the Syrians, to be able to emerge.

And on Libya, I want to express my deep gratitude to the initiative of Chancellor Merkel. The conference that is being prepared in Berlin will be a unique occasion to bring together all those that have an influence in relation to the conflict in Libya and to try to finally get the conditions for a ceasefire and for a political process able to bring peace to Libya.

And bringing peace to Libya contributes to the stabilization of the Sahel and also to better management of the movements of people in the region.

And we will also discuss global challenges including the climate crisis and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Now, I am here in Berlin for the 14th Internet Governance Forum, one of the most important international meetings of the year. Digital technology is shaping history, and we have a collective responsibility to maximize its benefits while managing risks and avoiding unintended consequences.

Technological development is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and policy-makers must adjust. We need smart regulatory frameworks that encourage innovation while preventing harm. And I am pleased that Europe is leading the way. 

And we also need to tackle the digital divide between countries, people and classes, and between women and men, which is linked with social and political divides that pose a serious global threat.

I hope that this forum here in Berlin can help to address them.

Later this week I will go to Madrid for the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Climate Change.

We are in a race for our lives against the climate crisis, and we are not winning the race.

As we heard yesterday from the World Meteorological Organization, levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high of 407.8 parts per million last year, up from 405.5 in 2017. The rate of increase is not even slowing down.

Ten days ago, the German Parliament passed the Federal Climate Change Act, which enshrines in law Germany’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, and to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.

This is an absolutely outstanding contribution to defeat climate change and I want to express my deep appreciation for the decision taken by Chancellor Merkel and by the German government. And I hope that these kinds of efforts will also be able to be followed, and namely to be followed by G20 countries.

Two new reports from the United Nations Environment Programme tell us also that we are failing to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

The first shows that countries are planning to produce about 50 percent more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 2 degrees centigrade.

And the second issued today is a stark warning that the gap between current emissions and the level needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is as wide as ever.

And so it’s absolutely essential to follow the German example and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Governments must adopt commitments that are much stronger than those in the Paris Agreement.

And climate action offers long-term economic and financial advantages for those who seize the opportunity.

I am counting fully on Germany’s leadership when the European Council discusses the 2050 carbon neutrality strategy.

It is my deep belief that Europe has a leading role in climate action and I am totally confident that the German presidency in the EU will be a very important moment in creating conditions for all for the COP that will take place in Glasgow to adopt, to accept the decisions of countries, the national climate contributions compatible with [the objective of ] 1.5 degree by the end of the century.

I thank Germany for taking a leading role in climate action, commensurate with your status as a model of global responsibility and universal values.

Thank you.