Secretary-General’s Remarks



It is a great pleasure to join you for the 2016 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit.
I warmly welcome all the participants who have come to the United Nations today from the worlds of business, civil society, labour and academia, as well as the many young people who are here in force.

All of you are leaders in the campaign for a world without poverty, a thriving planet, a vibrant and inclusive global economy, and a life of dignity for all.  This is the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed upon by the Member States of the UN in September last year.
Last year’s adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, together with the historic Paris Climate Agreement on climate change, sent a powerful message far and wide: we cannot continue on our current course.

We need new ways of living that will end the suffering, discrimination and lack of opportunity that define the lives of billions of people around the world, and that drive instability and conflict.
The solutions must involve everyone, from world leaders and chief executives, to educators and philanthropists. We must work together – across sectors and industries – in broader and deeper partnerships. Sustainable development cannot be separated from fighting the impact of climate change.

The Paris Agreement will reinforce climate action and make important contributions to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

A holistic development model will take climate impact and fragile ecosystems into account, and will benefit both people and the planet.

Trillions of dollars will be invested in infrastructure in the coming years.

Governments and the private sector must align their investment and infrastructure decisions with the Sustainable Development Goals, and with the goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. If possible, we must strive to lower it down to 1.5 degrees Centigrade.

The Paris Agreement and the SDGs give the private sector an unprecedented opportunity to create clean-energy, climate-resilient, sustainable economies.

We are at a decisive moment in the shift to sustainable and inclusive markets.
Two steps are essential.

First, we need to mobilize the global business community as never before.
All businesses, everywhere, can and should play a role in improving our world.
That starts with integrity — doing business right.

I have seen first-hand the power of the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

They are helping thousands of companies contribute to sustainability.
I ask each of the corporate leaders here and entrepreneurs today to renew your commitment to principled business, and to speak up for the UN Global Compact. Second, innovation will be crucial.

I urge you to take advantage of the new markets and solutions that are emerging; to set corporate goals inspired by the SDGs; and to let sustainability drive innovation and investment.
As a starting point, the UN Global Compact launched a search for entrepreneurs and changemakers who can play a pivotal role.

Today, I am honoured to announce the ten 2016 Global Compact SDG Pioneers. Please join me in congratulating:

· Kerry Adler of Canada;  Zubaida Bai of India;  Farzana Chowdhury of Bangladesh;  Sonia Favaretto of Brazil;  Liang Xiaohui of China;  Patrick Ngowi of Tanzania;  Claus Stig Pedersen of Denmark; Ulisses Sabara of Brazil;  Dina Sherif of Egypt; and  Ulysses Smith of the United [States.].

I call on the ten SDG Pioneers to please stand up so that we can thank you! Thank you. Congratulations, and I count on your strong commitment and engagement. I think that even though I announced the ten pioneers, you are all champions, and you are all pioneers. Thank you very much for your strong engagement. The Global Compact is uniquely prepared and positioned to help businesses seize the opportunities of the SDG era.  The Compact’s 80 local networks are the ideal launching pad for campaigns to turn global goals into local business.
Achieving the SDGs will require unprecedented cooperation and extraordinary leadership.
And it will require us each to be a pioneer, forging ahead into new territory.  That means taking personal and corporate responsibility for how we do business and who we choose as our staff and partners.

It means taking stock of our decisions as consumers and investors.   It also means raising our voices and taking a stand when it matters.  The United Nations Global Compact is the forum to make all this happen.   In my ten years as Secretary-General, we have come a long way.  The Global Compact was established under my predecessor, Kofi Annan, and I am very encouraged by its significant expansion during my time in office in the last nine-plus years.

    Together, we have helped to put corporate sustainability on the map. The United Nations Global Compact now has over 13,000 signatories in 165 countries. Congratulations, and I thank you for your strong engagement and commitment.
    I congratulate you all on this enormous success.  Institutional investors representing an astonishing $60 trillion in assets have signed up to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Over 600 business schools are committed to teaching according to the Principles for Responsible Management Education. The Global Compact’s Caring for Climate initiative is now the largest coalition of businesses actively engaging on climate.

Global Compact action platforms are providing ways for business to engage with the United Nations on issues from peace and security to women’s empowerment and the rule of law.
I hope and expect my successor to back you as enthusiastically as I have.  Together, we have shown that responsible business must be part of the solution to the global challenges we face.
Now, we must have the courage and determination to turn the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals into action for the better future we want.

I thank you for your leadership and your strong engagement and commitment. Thank you very much.

UN Secretary-General’s remarks to the closing ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, 24 May 2016


This unique summit has set us on a new course. It is not an end point, but a turning point.
I thank all of you who came to Istanbul with vision, ideas and commitment.

Governments, people affected by crisis, Non-Governmental Organizations, the private sector, United Nations agencies and other partners came together and expressed their support for the Agenda for Humanity and its five Core Responsibilities.  Implementing this agenda is a necessity, if we are to enable people to live in dignity and prosperity, and fulfil the promise of last year’s landmark agreements on the Sustainable Development Agenda and Climate Change.

Humanitarian and development partners agreed on a new way of working aimed at reducing the need for humanitarian action by investing in resilient communities and stable societies.
Aid agencies and donor governments committed to a ‘Grand Bargain’ that will get more resources into the hands of people who need them, at the local and national level. And Governments committed to do more to prevent conflict and build peace, to uphold international humanitarian law, and live up to the promise of the Charter of the United Nations. I hope all Member States will work at the highest level to find the political solutions that are so vital to reduce humanitarian needs around the world.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I congratulate you on the many innovative projects and initiatives that have been launched over the past two days. Together, we launched a ground-breaking charter that places people with disabilities at the heart of humanitarian decision-making; a platform on young people in crises;
and commitments to uphold the rights of women and girls in emergencies and protect them from gender-based violence.

The ‘Education Cannot Wait’ fund was launched with a pledge for $100 million from the Global Business Coalition for Education. Islamic financing tools for humanitarian action – a social bond and an endowment fund – were inaugurated.

Today I am presenting a Chair’s Summary which reflects our rich discussions at this Summit. This will be followed by a document detailing the commitments that have been made, which will also be registered on an online platform. In September, I will report to the United Nations General Assembly on the Summit’s achievements. I will propose ways to take our commitments forward through intergovernmental processes, inter-agency forums and other mechanisms. I congratulate you all on living up to your responsibilities. And I call on everyone, including world leaders who missed this opportunity to join us, to honour and champion the Agenda for Humanity as we implement it over the coming years.

During this Summit, I have had the privilege of talking to some of you here who have been deeply affected by crisis: people who are enduring the conflict in South Sudan, people who lost everything to last year’s cyclone in Vanuatu, and NGO workers from Syria, who brave bombs and rockets to bring humanitarian aid to women, men and children in need. Despite their very difficult circumstances, all these people are working hard to help their communities. You are true humanitarian heroes. I salute your courage and resilience.

The World Humanitarian Summit must deliver for you, and for people and communities caught up in crisis around the world. Together, we will put people first, secure their safety, uphold their dignity and give them a chance of a better future.

Thank you.

United Nations Secretary-General’s remarks at the High Level Roundtable on Natural Disasters and Climate Change at the World Humanitarian Summit,

Istanbul, Turkey, 24 May 2016

Distinguished Heads of State and Government,

 Distinguished Ministers,

 Distinguished representatives of intergovernmental organizations,

 United Nations agencies and other stakeholders,


 Ladies and gentlemen,

 I call to order the High-level Leaders’ Roundtable on [Natural Disasters and Climate Change [GAVEL]

Welcome. I am honoured to serve as your Moderator.

I am pleased to be joined by the Co-Chairs of this roundtable,

His Excellency Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of the Republic of Nauru,

His Excellency Mr. William Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya,

His Excellency Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia,

His Excellency Mr. Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal.

Before we proceed, I would like to make some introductory remarks. Natural disasters are having a major impact around the world. Over the past two decades, an average of 218 million people every year have been affected by natural disasters, leading to an economic impact of some $250-300 billion per year. Despite some improvements in building resilience in recent years, we know that the impact of climate change, urbanization and other factors will increase the frequency and intensity of disasters.

The current El Niño demonstrates the challenges we face. This weather phenomenon – which was foreseen – is already affecting sixty million people with droughts and flooding. Last January, I myself witnessed the effects of El Nino on farmers in Ethiopia, and the Deputy Secretary-General saw them in Vietnam three weeks ago. We saw what a difference greater investment in preparedness and prevention can make. I have appointed the Honorable Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, and Ambassador Macharia Kamou of Ethiopia as my Envoys to address El Nino.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Reducing disaster risk dominated last year’s political achievements: the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We must now honor these agreements and deliver on their promises. That is the first core commitment for this roundtable.

We can reduce risks, but we can never eliminate them. Unfortunately, natural disasters will continue to happen, as we have seen recently in the devastating earthquakes in Nepal and Ecuador. We must prepare for them much more effectively, so we can respond as quickly as possible. These are the second and third core commitments. We must increase investment in community resilience, with the full participation of women, young people, and other groups in society. This is the fourth commitment. And the fifth and final commitment is to follow the rule: as local as possible; as international as needed. Local action must be driven by local needs, and complemented by regional and international support.

I look forward to your commitments, so that this Summit marks the beginning of a major change in the global management of disaster risks and crises. For its part, the United Nations commits to making all its plans and programmes risk informed, and to building the resilience of communities that are most vulnerable.

 Thank you.

UN Secretary-General’s Remarks to High-Level Round Table on Humanitarian Financing at the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, 23 May 2016

Over the past decade, the gap between humanitarian needs and the funds available to meet them has grown to unprecedented levels. This is not because the world cannot afford to help people in need.

Estimates put the total sum requested for humanitarian aid at about one per cent of global military spending.  Nor is it because people do not want to help each other.

Those who have the least often give the most. Some of the poorest countries in the world are hosting the highest numbers of refugees. No. The challenge is directed at us: the leaders; the decision-makers; the professionals. It is a question of our priorities, our accounting and our funding systems.

That is why I established the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing last year, to find out how the international community can deliver for the most vulnerable. Their report was a clarion call for a change of direction. The panel found that significant improvements are needed in how we mobilize, allocate, and use resources. The Grand Bargain that will be launched later today is one result.

We also need better risk management and a new approach to protracted crises.  Humanitarian and development organizations must work towards the same goals, with the same priorities: risk management, preparedness and resilience. Traditional and new donors must build broad partnerships with the communities and governments that are on the frontlines of humanitarian action.

Above all, we need your commitment and action

For our part, the United Nations commits to making humanitarian action as local as possible and as international as necessary. We commit to improving our engagement with local and national partners.  I urge everyone here today to consider your priorities as we work together to reduce and end humanitarian needs around the world.

Thank you.

UN Secretary-General’s Remarks at Climate Action 2016

Washington D.C., 5 May 2016

It is a great pleasure to be with you today.

Just two weeks ago, 175 countries came to the United Nations to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Never before have so many countries signed an international agreement in one day. It is clear that the Paris Agreement enjoys overwhelming support from all regions. Large emerging economies, high and middle income countries, and nations at all stages of development are saying they want a low-carbon future that can limit global temperature rise and underpin sustainable development.  Two of the world’s largest emitters – China and the United States – have pledged their continued commitment and collaboration. The Presidents of both countries jointly announced in March that they would join the Paris Agreement this year. I thank President Obama and President Xi Jinping for their leadership.

And I thank Secretary of State Kerry for the statesmanship he showed in Paris that helped secure a deal.  Once 55 countries accounting for 55 per cent of global emissions join the Paris Agreement, it will enter into force. I will do all I can to help this happen. We must turn the promise of Paris into action and implementation as soon as possible.  We need action now.
Temperatures continue to climb. Arctic sea ice is melting fast. Droughts, storms and floods are costing lives and productivity from Fiji to the Philippines; from Thailand to Texas.

It is time to take climate action to the next level.

We need to accelerate the speed, scope and scale of our response, locally and globally. I have been looking forward to this event because it is about solutions – innovation and imagination; collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors.  Today as never before, the stars are aligning in favour of climate action.  Everywhere I look, I see signs of hope.
Governments have signed the Paris Agreement and submitted their national climate plans.
Here, in the United States, cities, the private sector, investors, the finance community, the military, faith communities and civil society are driving the transformative change we need.
The advantages are clear: new markets; new jobs; cleaner air and better health. That is why cities are reducing emissions and increasing their resilience.  Companies are inventing new, green technologies and scaling up their use of sustainable, clean  energy.  Investors are scrutinizing fossil fuel investments and insurers are beginning to integrate climate risk into their decision-making. Across this country and around the world we are seeing the emergence of the clean energy, climate-resilient economy of tomorrow.

Initiatives such as Sustainable Energy for All and Caring for Climate are gathering momentum.
Our goal now must be nothing less than a radical transformation of the global economy to a zero-carbon world in the second half of this century.  This will require mobilization on an unprecedented scale –here and around the globe. Both the United States and China are pivotal for this task. Both have pledged significant reductions in their emissions.  And both have agreed in Paris on transparent rules of the road to monitor progress, enhance accountability and foster a race to the top to drive climate ambition. That is why, in September, in the margins of the G20 meeting, I intend to co-convene a meeting similar to this one in China.We cannot afford a minute’s rest.

Last year, the world united to create an ambitious sustainable development agenda to transform the global economy, bring new opportunities to billions of people, and leave a more habitable planet for future generations. We have to deliver on these promises by working together. Climate Action 2016 will further solidify the coalitions that were highlighted at my Climate Summit in 2014, and in the Action Agenda in Lima and Paris. I encourage all of you to work with the COP Presidencies to make the High-Level Event on Climate Action at COP-22 in Marrakesh a resounding success by demonstrating concrete progress on the action agenda.
Here, you will focus on six, high-value areas of multi-stakeholder partnership: sustainable energy; sustainable land-use; cities; transport; and tools for decision-making.   Each is integral to tackling climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. To rise to these challenges we will need strong partnerships at all levels. No sector of society and no nation can succeed alone.  I encourage you to collaborate. Innovate.  Invest.

Together we can build the world we want, and the world we are proud to leave to our children.
Thank you.

Secretary-General’s remarks to Security Council on Health Care in Armed Conflict

New York, 3 May 2016

Let me begin by welcoming the presence of Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières.  

The ICRC and MSF are our good partners, playing unique and vital roles in conflict and disaster areas.  Through their leaders here today, I want to thank and commend all of their personnel for their professionalism and dedication in serving people in danger and distress across the world.
Last week, MSF’s head of mission in Aleppo underscored the urgency and importance of efforts such as today’s resolution.

“No corner is being spared”, he said.  And he added: “Aleppo is already a shell of what it once was; this most recent assault appears determined to eliminate even that”.
He was reacting to an air strike, by all accounts by the Government of Syria, that destroyed a hospital, killing at least 20 people, including three children and the area’s one and only pediatrician, Dr. Mohammad Wassim Maaz. Yet this appalling act was only the latest wartime assault on health care in Syria.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Physicians for Human Rights has documented more than 360 attacks on some 250 medical facilities.  More than 730 medical personnel have been killed.
Today, almost half of all medical facilities in Syria are now closed or only partially functioning.  Millions of Syrians lack life-saving healthcare.

A similar pattern of systematic destruction of health facilities is evident in Yemen. More than 600 medical facilities have closed because of damage sustained in the conflict and shortages of supplies and medical workers. Last year, the United Nations verified 59 attacks against 34 hospitals. In January this year, Coalition air strikes hit the Shiara Hospital, which serves around 120,000 people in Sa’ada Governorate. Following the attack, pregnant women were reportedly forced to give birth in caves rather than risk travelling to the hospital. And last October in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a bombing by United States military destroyed another MSF hospital and killed dozens, as patients were burned alive in their beds.

These patterns are repeated in other conflicts, including in Iraq and South Sudan, where violence against healthcare is multiplying the difficulties of already fragile health systems.
Such attacks must end.  When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong. Explanations ring hollow to parents burying their children and communities pushed closer to collapse. All too often, there is no respect for the sick and no sanctity for those who provide care.

All too often, attacks on health facilities and medical workers are not just isolated or incidental battlefield fallout, but rather the intended objective of the combatants. This is shameful and inexcusable.  In Syria, Government forces systematically remove medical supplies from humanitarian convoys.

In Syria and elsewhere, Governments impose cumbersome procedures that restrict access to healthcare.  This is strangulation by red tape.  It is violence by bureaucratic means rather than force of arms, but it is just as devastating.  Let us be clear: Intentional and direct attacks on hospitals are war crimes.  Denying people access to essential health care is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. All State and non-State parties to conflict are bound by a strict obligation to respect and protect medical personnel, facilities and vehicles, as well as the wounded and sick. Parties to conflict must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of impartial humanitarian relief, including medical missions.

These obligations are at the very heart of international humanitarian law.  This Council and all Member States must do more than condemn such attacks.  They must  use every ounce of influence to press parties to respect their obligations.  They must press for perpetrators to be held fully accountable. The resolution you have just adopted demonstrates the Council’s determination to strengthen the protection of healthcare in armed conflict. For the sake of humanity, I urge all Member States, parties to conflict and other relevant actors to heed the Council’s demands.

Facilitate humanitarian access.

Develop domestic legal frameworks that protect health facilities and medical workers.
Train armed forces so they understand their obligations. Prosecute those responsible for such attacks and other violations.

Mr. President,

The growing insecurity of medical services is part of a broader trend of blatant disregard for international law in armed conflict. Across the world, parties to conflict are disregarding the most basic rules of international humanitarian and human rights law.  Every day, civilians are deliberately or indiscriminately killed or injured. Densely populated towns and cities are pummelled by air strikes and heavy shelling. Millions of people have fled their homes into perilous and uncertain futures.  Impunity compounds the crime.

Last October, ICRC President Peter Maurer and I issued a joint statement calling on States to take urgent action to uphold international law and address human suffering. I repeat that call in this chamber today.  Even wars have rules; it is time to uphold and enforce them. No government should stand by and watch the erosion of safeguards for the protection of civilians in conflict.  The international community must never become numb to flagrant abuses.
Affirming our common humanity will be a key theme at the World Humanitarian Summit meeting in Istanbul on May 23rd and 24th – and it highlights the importance and timeliness of this first-of-its-kind event.

I encourage Member States to seize the opportunity of the Summit to take concrete action to uphold the norms that safeguard humanity. Our world confronts disasters of staggering size and complexity.  125 million people need humanitarian assistance, and at least 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes or countries. The World Humanitarian Summit is the moment to come together to renew our commitment to preventing and ending crisis, and to show we are steadfast in reducing suffering and vulnerability. We need the full engagement and commitment of all partners – Governments and NGOs.  We can only strengthen humanitarian response and fulfil this duty to the world’s most vulnerable by working together. The success of the World Humanitarian Summit is in your hands.

Finally, I appeal to Member States to work with greater intensity to find political solutions to end bloodshed and suffering.  As the skies over Aleppo and other parts of Syria continue to be filled with barrel bombs and artillery fire, we must all work relentlessly to rescue the cessation of hostilities.  This is crucial for saving lives, for the credibility of the political process, and indeed – once again – this Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.



En décembre dernier à Paris, la communauté internationale a adopté le premier accord universel sur le climat.

Chaque pays s’est engagé à réduire ses émissions et à renforcer sa résilience face aux effets potentiellement dévastateurs des changements climatiques.
Aujourd’hui, au moins 171 pays se retrouvent ici à New York pour signer l’Accord de Paris.
Arrêtons-nous et songeons-y un instant.
C’est un moment d’histoire. Jamais auparavant un aussi grand nombre de pays n’avait signé un accord international en une seule journée.
Je félicite tous les pays qui signent ce matin et je salue tout particulièrement les 15 Parties qui vont egalement deposer leurs instruments de ratification, que je me fais un devoir de citer : la Barbade, le Belize, les Fidji, la Grenade, les Maldives, les Îles Marshall, Les Iles Maurice, Nauru, les Palaos, l’État de Palestine, La Féderation de Sain Christophe et Niéves, Sainte-Lucie, le Samoa, la Somalie et Tuvalu.

            “L’esprit de solidarite de Paris vive encore.
            Merci beaucoup.

We are breaking records in this Chamber – and that is good news.

But records are also being broken outside.Record global temperatures.  Record ice loss.  Record carbon levels in the atmosphere We are in a race against time. I urge all countries to move quickly to join the Agreement at the national level so that the Paris Agreement can enter into force as early as possible. The window for keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees, is rapidly closing. The era of consumption without consequences is over. We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies.  And we must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create.  Let us never forget — climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits.  It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women. Climate action is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

        Many people contributed to the COP21 negotiations in Paris and to the preparations for this event.  I acknowledge their tireless efforts, particularly the work of the UNFCCC Secretariat. Today is a day that I have worked toward since day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations and declared climate change to be my top priority. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future. This covenant must amount to more than promises

It must find expression in actions we take today on behalf of this generation and all future generations; actions that reduce climate risk and protect communities; actions that place us on a safer, smarter path. This morning we will be joined by 197 children, representing the Parties that adopted the Paris Agreement.  Of course, they represent more than this. These young people are our future.  Our covenant is with them. Today is a day for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come. Together, let us turn the aspirations of Paris into action. As you show by the very act of signing today, the power to build a better world is in your hands.

Thank you very much for your leadership and commitment.