09 February 2019
Remarks to the press by the Secretary-General following a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission I am extremely grateful to the African Union for the invitation to participate in this summit. The strategic cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations is a fundamental asset for the work of the United nations in the world.
And this is the moment in which the wind of hope is blowing in Africa. We have seen the reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea; we have seen peace agreements that were established in South Sudan; in the Central African Republic; we are working together also to see if we are moving in the same direction in Libya. We have seen elections that people were forecasting that they would lead to tragedy, to violence and that, in the end, took place in a peaceful context, be it in Madagascar, in the DRC or in Mali. And in all those circumstances, we had the combination of efforts of the African Union and the UN. A combination of efforts of an agenda to make sure that guns will be silent from 2020 onwards - and this is of course the African Union commitment - linked towards our surge in the UN for diplomacy, for peace, and the two things combined, are producing results, in conflict resolution and in prevention of conflicts. And I believe Africa is becoming an example, an example where it is possible to solve conflicts and it is possible to prevent conflicts. And this wind of hope, I believe, can then be extended to other parts of the world.
On the other hand, we are working together very closely, aligning our two development agendas, facing the challenges of climate change. But there I have to say, we need to tell the international community we need more political will. More political will in development cooperation There is not peace without development. More political will in relation to the ambition in climate change. Ambition for mitigation, for adaptation, for finance. We are losing the race with climate change and this can be a disaster for Africa and for world. Africa will pay an even higher price because of the dramatic impacts in the continent and the fact that Africa doesn’t contribute much to the warming of the planet. And so, we will not only work together in cooperation, in the development and in the support to the countries of Africa in development and in response to climate change, but we will be more and more, raising the awareness of the international community, that the international community needs to do much more in cooperation [aid] for development and in addressing the dramatic challenges of climate change.
I want to say that I was High Commissioner for Refugees for 10 years. Africa is a continent where the borders are open for refugees, where refugees are protected. It’s an example for the world. It’s an example of solidarity that rest of the world, especially the richest part of the world, should be able to follow.
And on the other hand, it is clear that the African Continent has also been a continent in the leadership in relation to addressing migration flows. There are more African migrants in other African countries than in Europe, contrary to what many people think. And in Africa, this has been managed in a much more humane way. So, my strong appeal is for what was agreed in the compact on migration and about refugees to be effectively implemented; and we count a lot on African leadership in this regard.