Brindisi

19 December 2019

Secretary-General's Press Encounter Following Ceremony to Mark 25th Anniversary of UN Global Service Center in Brindisi

I want to express my deep gratitude to the people of Brindisi for their warm hospitality, and to the Mayor, the Prefect and all the other local authorities. And to say how proud we are to have, for 25 years, to have these fantastic U.N. premises in Brindisi. 

And the Italian people can be very proud because their warm hospitality allowed us to have – and you could have witnessed, an extremely efficient center to support all peace operations in the world and to support the United Nations work in peace and security, in sustainable development and in the promotion of human rights everywhere, thanks to the Italian hospitality.

And when talking to the UN staff here, I could witness once more the importance of the Italian hospitality, and the Brindisi people’s warmth. Everybody loves to work here, coming from all countries around the world, they love to be in Italy. They love to work in Brindisi, and that is one reason more to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude.

Another proof of the exemplary partnership between Italy and the UN is the European School in Brindisi, where so many young people can prepare for the future, independently of their language and their nationality. One reason more for us to be grateful and appreciative in relation to this partnership and to this hospitality.

The presence of the United Nations in Italy is unique in the world. We are in Brindisi, we are in Rome, we are in Florence, we are in Torino, we are in Trieste, we are in Perugia, we are in Venice. And this is only possible thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Italian government and the very strong commitment of Italy towards the UN, and towards multilateralism. Italy became a very important pillar of multilateralism in a world where global challenges more and more request multilateral responses and where, unfortunately, many are yet fighting multilateralism without having anything else to offer.

But our partnership with Italy goes beyond Italian borders. More than 1,000 Italian soldiers are peacekeepers in Lebanon, in very complex situations that we all can witness. At the same time, Italy will be one of the key countries, together with thebUK, in the COP26. We have lost a battle in the COP25 in Madrid, but we must win the war. And we very much count on Italian leadership to make sure that in the end of 2020, we will have in Glasgow, in cooperation between Italy and the UK, leading this process, we will have a commitment from the world for carbon neutrality in 2050, in order to limit temperature growth to 1.5 degrees at the end of the century. We need to defeat climate change, which is the most dramatic challenge for the world today, and I count on Italian’s leadership in this regard.

Twenty-five years of the center in Brindisi. Seventy-five years of the UN. Italy and the UN, together, fighting for a better world.

Grazie mille.

Question: [inaudible]

Secretary-General: I believe that in all frontier technologies, and we are talking about environment, we are talking about information and communication technologies, I hope we’ll be talking about artificial intelligence. In all frontier technologies, we see Brindisi as the most important center for future development of UN capacities.

Question: I work for RAI. The COP25 in Madrid has just failed. You said several times you feel disappointed for this [inaudible]. Do you still think that capitalism and sustainable development can work together?

Secretary-General: Well, we see today more and more that the business community, companies, we see the financial sector, asset owners, we see central banks more and more committed to climate change; and we see them telling governments that what is lacking is political will. So what we need is stronger political will of governments around the world, following the example of Europe that has decided, as you know, to commit to 2050, the year to reach carbon neutrality. If all other countries follow the same line, I think we’ll be able to win this battle.
Thank you very much.