Peace and Security

13 September 2021, Geneva

Remarks to the High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

The people of Afghanistan need a lifeline.

After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour.

Now is the time for the international community to stand with them.

Let us be clear: This conference is not simply about what we will give to the people of Afghanistan. It is about what we owe.


Even before the dramatic events of the last weeks, Afghans were experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

13 September 2021, Geneva

Opening remarks at press conference on the High-Level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen of the media.

This conference has fully met my expectations in relation to the solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.

First of all, because of the massive level of participation, meaning that this is a matter that today mobilizes the interest not only of governments around the world, but of international organizations and civil society.

We have 156 participants, of which 96 are Member States and half of them speaking at the ministerial level.

14 September 2021, General Assembly

Remarks at the closing of the Seventy-Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

[Bilingual, as delivered]

I’m pleased to join you for the closing of the 75th session of the General Assembly — a session held under the shadow of a formidable foe: the COVID-19 pandemic.

By any measure, this has been the most challenging period facing the world since the Second World War.

The pandemic has deepened inequalities.

Decimated economies at the global, national and household levels.

Plunged millions into extreme poverty.

Shattered support systems.

And unraveled decades of hard-won development progress.

17 September 2021, UN Headquarters

Remarks at the Peace Bell Ceremony on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the International Day of Peace

Good afternoon and thank you very much for joining us.

Today is the International Day of Peace.

It comes at a time when humanity is in crisis.

COVID-19 has claimed over four million lives and counting.

The pandemic has shattered household and national economies alike.  

Conflicts are spinning out of control.

Inequalities and poverty are growing.

We face a planetary emergency in climate change.

We struggle with mistrust in facts and science — and in one another.

18 September 2021, UN Headquarters

Statement on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse – Putting Victims’ Rights and Dignity at the Forefront

Today marks four years since the High-level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, when I called on world leaders to stand with the United Nations to put an end to this scourge.

Member States and the United Nations together pledged to strengthen the Organization’s effectiveness in preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, and to put the rights and dignity of victims at the centre of our efforts.

18 September 2021, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Presentation of the Artwork "World in Progress II" 

C'est un grand plaisir de me joindre à vous aujourd'hui pour l'inauguration de cette fantastique œuvre d'art. 

Je remercie sincèrement Saype et le gouvernement de la Confédération suisse pour ce cadeau unique.

“World in Progress II” is perfectly suited to our time and place.

First, it is, in all senses, a big picture.

Both its execution and its subject are monumental and ambitious.

We have to take several steps back, just to view it in its entirety. 

Then we understand that it shows two children, designing their ideal world together.

20 September 2021, UN Headquarters

Remarks at the Inauguration of the Turkish House

Mr. President, Excellencies,

It is a pleasure to join you at the inauguration of the new Turkish House and to recognize the continued excellent cooperation between Turkey and the United Nations.

Turkey is engaged across the spectrum of our work, as we deal with challenges from the climate crisis to longstanding threats to peace and security.

I am personally familiar with enormous generosity of Turkey and Turkish host communities towards refugees. I offer my sincere appreciation for your support to people in need of protection.

21 September 2021, General Assembly

Secretary-General’s address to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the opening of the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-sixth session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

[All-English version; scroll further down for all-French and trilingual as delivered versions]

Mr. President of the General Assembly, Excellencies,

I am here to sound the alarm:  The world must wake up.

We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction.

Our world has never been more threatened.

Or more divided.

We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has supersized glaring inequalities. 

The climate crisis is pummeling the planet.

26 August 2021, Security Council

Remarks to the Security Council 

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this meeting on the situation in Ethiopia —  a matter that is increasingly preoccupying the African continent and the wider international community.

A military confrontation, which started some ten months ago in the northern region of Tigray, is spreading. 

And the level of human suffering is growing — with serious political, economic and humanitarian implications for Ethiopia and the broader region.

All parties must recognize a simple truth:  there is no military solution. 

19 August 2021, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Wreath-Laying Ceremony for the Observance of the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad

Dear colleagues,

This memorial reminds us why August the 19th was chosen as World Humanitarian Day.

On this date 18 years ago, the world lost 22 humanitarian heroes in a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad.

These women and men were killed carrying out the noblest of all human missions — the mission of peace.

The mission of supporting innocent lives trapped by the violence, turmoil and instability of violent conflicts.

Humanitarian work is dangerous — with a tenfold increase in aid workers being shot, kidnapped or attacked over the last 20 years.