Your Excellency Mr. Thein Sein, President of the Union of Myanmar,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and an honour to be in Myanmar again to attend the 6th ASEAN-UN Summit. I congratulate President Thein Sein on Myanmar’s successful first Chairmanship of ASEAN. The United Nations welcomes Myanmar’s emergence to play a more active role in regional and international affairs.
I congratulate Myanmar on its achievements, including ambitious reforms aimed at improving the lives of its people. As the country prepares for a general election in 2015, it will face critical benchmarks. The Government and people of Myanmar can count on the support of the United Nations as they continue the process of democratization, development and national reconciliation.
The world is going through challenging times. We face multiple crises. Some, like the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa, or Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, arise from nature and put our humanitarian response and our health systems to the test.
But many others are man-made, from the conflict in Syria and Iraq, to the threat of famine in South Sudan. Ordinary women, men and children pay the highest price. Intolerance, extremism and radicalization are on the rise, including in some countries in this region.
The United Nations is striving to address these challenges, with the support of its member states and in regional organizations, like ASEAN.
Seventy years after the adoption of the UN charter, this is a moment to join hands and renew our commitments to peace and security, human rights and development. 2015 will a crucial year for the international community to usher in a new era of sustainable development as we reach agreement on a post MDG agenda and its financing.
We are looking for a strong agreement on climate change. A two-degree increase in global temperatures poses a severe threat to many countries, and particularly coastal cities, in this region. We count on your support at the Conferences of Parties in Lima, Peru, next month and in Paris, France, next year.
On peace and security, I have just announced a major review of our peacekeeping operations and political missions, which will be led by Nobel Laureate and former leader of Timor-Leste, José Ramos-Horta.
We have also put in place a major initiative we call ‘Human Rights Up Front’ to improve our efforts to prevent and respond to the risk of serious violations of human rights.
On human rights, we look forward to ASEAN strengthening its monitoring and protection mandate and its human rights mechanisms, including the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.
Discrimination against minorities and vulnerable groups, and violence against women, are serious challenges in the region. The UN stands ready to work with ASEAN and its Member States to strengthen national capacity to protect human rights, provide justice and promote accountability. Civil society has a crucial role to play in this effort and I encourage you to ensure the space and the freedoms such groups and organizations need to contribute to these national efforts.
We rely on the support of member states and regional organizations to enact this ambitious agenda.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with all of you for peace, human rights and development across Southeast Asia and around the world.
Thank you Mr. President.