25 February 2015

Opening remarks at joint press briefing with President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara of Paraguay

Ban Ki-moon

Buenos tardes, Mba’eichapa!

Quisiera agradecer al Presidente Cartes y al pueblo del Paraguay por la cálida bienvenida que me han brindado.

Es un gran placer estar en el Paraguay en esta, mi primera visita a su hermoso país. [I want to thank President Cartes and the people of Paraguay for their warm welcome. I am so pleased to be in Paraguay for my first visit.]

I am particularly honoured to be the first United Nations Secretary-General to visit Paraguay since Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld came here in 1959.

Paraguay has come a long way since then.

I warmly congratulated President Cartes on Paraguay’s impressive achievements in reducing poverty and striving to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

More Paraguayans enjoy better access to education and health care. More and more families have access to clean water and sanitation.

I have also thanked President Cartes for his national and regional leadership in taking on one of the biggest challenges in this region: inequality.

We need sustainable and inclusive development for all. In that regard, I had a very productive meeting with the Social Cabinet of the Presidency.

In September, world leaders will gather at the United Nations in New York to adopt a post-2015 agenda with a new generation of sustainable development goals. At this decisive moment, we must work together to end poverty and transform lives while protecting the planet.

In December, we have the chance to adopt a meaningful, universal agreement to tackle climate change.

Paraguay is not a large contributor to global emissions – in fact the country gets all of its electricity from hydropower. I look forward to visiting the ITAIPU hydroelectric dam tomorrow.

But Paraguay is already feeling the impacts of climate change – ranging from increased flooding to prolonged droughts. I count on Paraguay’s leadership to support a strong agreement in Paris.

Paraguay has an important role to play across the board and I am very grateful for Paraguay’s contributions to the United Nations.

Today, Paraguayans are serving as peacekeepers in eight countries around the world. I look forward to visiting the Joint Training Centre for Peacekeeping tomorrow.

Paraguayans should be particularly proud of your country’s leadership in advancing the special needs of Landlocked Developing Countries.

Paraguay has also joined global efforts in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. I encourage you to sustain that commitment.

Finally, I congratulate Paraguay on its recent election to the Human Rights Council – and its decision to focus on the rights of women and children.

Let me close by expressing my admiration for Paraguay’s proud history and rich cultural heritage. It is my honour and pleasure to be in this beautiful country.

Muchas gracias. Aguijevete.