Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

13 November 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at the East Asia Summit [as prepared for delivery]

Your Excellency U Thein Sein, President of the  Republic of the Union of Myanmar and  Chairman of the 9th East Asia Summit, Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking President Thein Sein and the government and people of Myanmar
for hosting this summit at this vital time.

Our world faces multiple crises. 
Conflict continues to rage in Syria, Iraq and beyond.  The Ebola virus continues its deadly grip on West Africa.  Threats such as drug trafficking, transnational crime and terrorism are growing in intensity and feeding off each other. 

These and other challenges cannot be addressed by one country or organization alone. 

I therefore greatly welcome the East Asia Summit and your effort to build an Asia-wide institutional framework for dialogue.

We know the absence of dialogue heightens the risk of escalation – even inadvertent conflict – due to misunderstanding or miscalculation. 

This region is on the leading edge of 21st century solutions.  Yet it is still plagued by tensions rooted in another time. 

Differences – including historical and territorial disputes – should be managed and resolved peacefully.
Asian countries should expand their coordination and explore creating a new security architecture for closer regional cooperation, especially
in Northeast Asia.

Northeast Asia remains the crucial missing link in UN engagement with regional or sub-regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.  This is long overdue.

I applaud the initiative of the Republic of Korea to complement existing security or coordination mechanisms and explore ways to fill the current gaps in dialogue to enhance cooperation and peace.

I also welcome recent efforts such as those by China and Japan to find a constructive, positive path forward. 
The region – and indeed the world – will benefit greatly from a future-oriented Asia that is ever more integrated – engaged – and assuming greater responsibilities commensurate with its clout.

That is my main message to you today.

Regional maritime security, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, pandemics, natural disasters, illegal trafficking in arms, narcotics and people, and environmental degradation depend on enhanced cooperation among the countries of Asia – and matter to all the countries of the world.

I thank many countries around this table for stepping up in solidarity to respond to the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  I have established the first-ever UN emergency health operation — the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response — to galvanize our work on the frontlines. 

These efforts are paying dividends. 
The rate of new Ebola cases is showing encouraging signs of slowing. 

 But as caseloads go down in some areas, they are rising in others.  Huge gaps remain in funding, equipment and, most urgently, medical personnel. 

I ask you to do even more to help speed up efforts to first get the crisis under control and then bring it to an end.  We need all hands on deck.

We must also join forces to reduce the risks of disasters in the region.  I commend your leadership on improving disaster response capacities – and look forward to your active participation in the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan next March.

Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Next year, we will observe 70th anniversary of the UN founding.

In a broader sense, next year will be pivotal for three important priorities, namely, the target year of the MDGs, shaping the post-2015 development agenda,
the sustainable development goals and addressing climate change. 

We must convert momentum generated at the recent Climate Summit for climate action into concrete climate progress for a universal, meaningful final agreement in Paris next year.
And here I must acknowledge the joint announcement yesterday by the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of their post-2020 action on climate change. 

I thank both President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama for their leadership and their personal commitment to work together to remove any impediment  to reachingan agreement in Paris.
I urge all countries, especially all major economies, to follow the lead of the world’s two largest economies and announce ambitious post-2020 targets as soon as possible, but no later than the first quarter of 2015.
Excellencies,
You, as leaders of the most dynamic East Asian and Pacific countries, have profound influence in East Asia and far beyond.
Expectations are high.  This region is an engine of global growth – and can be an engine of global solidarity.
I count on your wisdom, courage and political will to promote peace, development and human rights.
Let us work together to make this world better for all.
Thank you.