26 June 2014

Opening remarks to the press at the African Union Summit in Malabo

Ban Ki-moon

I am pleased to be here for the 23rd Summit of the African Union.

This is my first visit to Malabo.

I thank President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and the people of Equatorial Guinea for their warm welcome and hospitality.

I also commend President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Chairperson of the AU, and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, for their leadership.

The partnership between the African Union and the United Nations is broad and deep, covering peace and security, humanitarian assistance, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

The United Nations is fully committed to supporting the AU in realizing its Agenda 2063 and its vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.

We are proud to be able to work together with African nations to promote peace and security, inclusive growth, good governance and democracy.

On peace and security, I told the Summit that it is urgent that all parties in South Sudan end the fighting immediately, allow humanitarian access and engage in inclusive political dialogue.

The threat of inter-communal violence has driven some 93,000 South Sudanese to seek UN protection. Hundreds of thousands more need assistance to avert the very real threat of famine.

Regarding Mali, I noted the progress achieved since the election of President Keita. Now all parties need to come together, immediately and without pre-conditions, to negotiate a durable peace.

I also appealed to the international community to support the UN’s integrated strategy for peace and development in the Sahel.

In the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I asked all signatories of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement to fulfil their commitments. This includes not harbouring rebel elements or those accused of grave human rights violations.

In the Central African Republic, I emphasized the need to work with faith and community leaders, women and youth groups to defuse tensions and prevent further violence.

The UN is committed to working with regional partners and the AU to assist the transitional authorities to rebuild state institutions and re-establish the rule of law.

I also discussed the three priorities of the UN between now and the end of 2015.

The first is to complete the job of the Millennium Development Goals.

The scorecard is uneven within and among countries.

We must work harder to reduce the poverty, hunger and disease that afflicts the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalised members of society.

Second, Member States must agree on an inclusive and equitable post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a concise set of sustainable development goals that follow on from the MDGs.

We have to eradicate extreme poverty everywhere, but in a way that benefits people and planet.

After I leave Malabo, I will travel to Nairobi, Kenya, for the first session of the UN Environment Assembly.

This new body had the authority to advocate for the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

Without a healthy environment we cannot sustain economic or social progress.

One of the greatest environmental threats is climate change.

This is the third priority.

Member States have agreed to reach a universal and meaningful climate change agreement that can support our sustainable development objectives by the end of 2015.

To raise political momentum and catalyse transformative action on the ground, I am convening a Climate Summit on 23 September for leaders from Government, business, finance and civil society.

I have had a very good response from African leaders on all these issues.

Today I have also had a number of meetings with Heads of State and Government.

A recurring theme of many of my discussions has been regional cooperation.

In this sub-region, the challenges include inter-ethnic or religious violence, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the threat of terrorism and the LRA, and illicit wildlife and drug trafficking.

All countries in the region need to work together to address these pressing issues.

The United Nations, including through its Regional Office for Central Africa, will continue to support such critical regional and cross-border cooperation as part of its conflict prevention and peacebuilding mandate.

Before coming to Equatorial Guinea I visited Namibia.

The UN is proud of its contribution to Namibia’s transition from colony to independent and thriving nation.

I had constructive meetings with President Pohamba and senior ministers, and had the pleasure of attending the official handover of the UN House in Windhoek.

I thank the Government of Namibia for this generous and significant donation that will help the UN deliver as one for the people of Namibia.

Yesterday, I also had a bilateral meeting with President Obiang and reviewed the cooperation between the Government of Equatorial Guinea and the United Nations.

I am grateful for the generous donation of new premises to the UN Country Team, which will enable us to work more effectively as One UN for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea.

I am also grateful for the contribution of Equatorial Guinea to UN peacekeeping operations worldwide.

The country supports seven UN peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, most recently, the Central African Republic.

Thank you for your attention.

I will now be glad to answer some questions, as well as my Senior Adviser.