UN Headquarters

10 January 2017

Opening remarks at press stakeout with Foreign Minister Margot Wallström of Sweden

António Guterres

Ladies and gentleman, thank you very much for your presence. I want to thank the Swedish Presidency of the Security Council and the Swedish Minister for taking this initiative. 

If there is something that is shocking in today’s world, it is to see such a multiplication of conflicts with dramatic human suffering and the little capacity of the international community to prevent conflicts and to, timely, solve them.

There are probably reasons: TV cameras are not there where a crisis is avoided.  Where TV cameras are not [present], public opinion is not seized, parliaments do not vote budgets and political leaders do not give it sufficient importance.  

But the truth is that prevention must be our common priority. The truth is that, with prevention, we can avoid suffering; with prevention, we can avoid destruction; and it is much smarter to prevent crises than to then respond to them. It is smarter, human suffering diminishes and even resources will be much more limited.  So, the right thing to do is to make prevention the central priority of the activities of the international community and the UN.