16 December 2018

Opening remarks at press conference with Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani of Qatar

António Guterres

This ceremony is a clear demonstration of the exemplar nature and partnership between the State of Qatar and the United Nations, and I want to express my very deep gratitude on behalf of all UN agencies and departments represented here and on behalf of the UN as a whole for the extremely important support that was signed here that represents a magical solution to the work of our agencies in so many different areas, thanks to the generosity of the State of Qatar and His Highness the Emir.

But we need to look into what was signed today, not only as a very important and generous financial contribution to the work of the UN, but as a qualitative change in the nature of our partnership. We are not discussing the support to specific projects in this or that part of the world for this or that objective – we are signing agreements for the permanent presence of agencies in Qatar and we are signing multi-year contributions to the core of the activities of the different UN entities. Which means a strategic partnership, which means a permanent partnership that goes deep into the work we do and allows Qatar to also have an important voice in relation to the very important discussions we have about the future of our own operations and our own strategies.

So this is the kind of partnership that is, of course, much more valuable for us than and I know that Qatar will be going on contributing to lots of development, humanitarian projects around the world, with the UN and with other partners in the most different circumstances, but much more relevant than those generous contributions on a project-by-project basis is this quantum leap in the nature of our relationship that I very much welcome. We became, I would say, structural partners in relation to the central objectives of the UN in all that I mentioned.

On the other hand, I think it’s important to underline that fact that Qatar is not only present in the UN, in the bilateral relations between States and international organziations. No, Qatar has been extremely influential in the central discussions we take in the United Nations and I would like to say the Permanent Representative of Qatar in the UN is one of the most active representatives and that your voice is heard when the UN is discussing, acting in the most different aspects of its different pillars of activity – be it in peace and security, be it in sustainable and inclusive development, be it in human rights. And there, I would like also to underline the importance of the Qatari contributions in all of these pillars. Peace and security is not only support to the Office of Counter-Terrorism, but very recently, very important agreements about Darfur were signed. Qatar has been extremely relevant in the mediation of conflicts and in bringing peace to situations in the region.

On the other hand, I know that the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 are very high in the priorities of His Highness the Emir, and on the other hand, other institutions of Qatar – we just came form a meeting with Sheikha Moza and a discussion at a university – many institutions of Qatar are very active in central aspects of development: education, health and all other dimensions that make our cooperation extremely important.

And finally, human rights. Qatar has acceded to the two covenants of political and civil rights and economic, social and cultural rights, and Qatar is becoming more and more present in very important initiatives taken, namely accountability in relation to the Syria conflict and others, that make it clear that Qatar is actively engaged in having human rights as one of the central objectives as its policy, both internally and externally.

For all of these reasons, I am extremely happy to be today in Doha after an active period of activity of the UN in different platforms, and to see our relationship transformed into a strategic and cultural partnership that will have, I’m sure, very important consequences in the future. And of all of the agreements signed today, I want to say emotionally that one represents for me something of enormous importance. The fact that UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency], that as you know has faced extreme difficulties this year and that was able to survive largely thanks to the contribution of a number of States, but including the State of Qatar with a very generous donation is signing also an agreement and with a multi-year perspective which represents our commitment to go on supporting Palestine refugees and to be able to not leave behind those that suffer one of the most dramatic situations in the world. And for that reason, I want to really have a special expression of gratitude.

Thank you.