Global ‘Partnership of Nations’ Needed to End Inequality, Strife, Secretary-General Tells Policy Forum, Calling Argentina Example of Hope

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks at the Argentine Council for Foreign Relations, in Buenos Aires today:

This is my third visit to Argentina as Secretary-General. I am pleased to be with you in this landmark year.

iFelicitaciones a la RepA´┐Żblica Argentina en el bicentenario de su independencia! [Congratulations to the Republic of Argentina on the bicentennial of your independence.]

I thank the Council for Foreign Relations for inviting me. I value the Council's important research, analysis and advocacy on international peace and security.

And I value Argentina's partnership with the United Nations. You are a standard bearer for United Nations values and principles. Argentina has shown a strong commitment to multilateralism - as a troop-contributing country, as a proponent of South-South and humanitarian cooperation, as an advocate for disarmament and a supporter of sustainable development.

Argentina has played a central role in making this region free of the terror of nuclear weapons, and you were one of the earliest supporters of the historic Arms Trade Treaty. I am grateful to Argentina for its steadfast support for UN peacekeeping, particularly in Cyprus and Haiti.

We are now in the process of deploying a Mission to Colombia to monitor the historic ceasefire agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army]. The Mission, authorized by the Security Council, will be composed of unarmed observers. I thank Argentina for its contribution, including the service of General Javier Perez Aquino, who is the Chief Observer.

Argentina has also served with distinction on the Security Council and the Human Rights Council. I commend your country's continuous efforts to tackle the question of impunity for past human rights violations here.

Argentina can also be proud of its global example in promoting the political participation of women. I have personally benefited from the leadership of your current Foreign Minister, Ms. Susana Malcorra. Argentina is one of the best examples of accelerating the recruitment and retention of women in the military and police and mainstreaming gender in peace operations. You have also broken new ground with the recent launch of the first national plan against gender violence. I encourage Argentina to continue working to close the gaps between law and practice.

Ending violence against women and girls is one of my top priorities. Attaining gender equality is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]. We cannot provide a better future for all if we neglect the rights and aspirations of half the world's people.

Today, I will talk about some of the challenges and opportunities of our rapidly changing world. And I will talk about the important role that Argentina is playing - and should continue to play - globally and in the region.

As the third-largest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina plays an important role in regional organizations, such as MERCOSUR [Southern Common Market], the Organization of American States, UNASUR [Union of South American Nations] and, more recently, as an observer in the Pacific Alliance.

The Government of Argentina has also shown consistent support to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean [ECLAC/CEPAL]. The national office established here in 1973 has worked effectively to promote economic inclusion.

The renowned Argentinean economist Raul Prebisch, who was the intellectual founder of ECLAC/CEPAL and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, was a pioneer in recognizing equality as central to development. This is particularly important now as we embark on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2030 Agenda is a collective promise by world leaders to leave no one behind as we work for people, planet, peace and prosperity. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals build on the Millennium Development Goals but go much further. They are universal and applicable to all countries. They are inclusive and mutually reinforcing. And they are transformative, based on the recognition that development, human rights, peace and security are inextricably linked.

We need a true global partnership of nations, organizations, businesses and communities to achieve freedom from hunger, access to health and education, gender equality and access to clean water. We must work together for decent work, universal sanitation and sustainable energy, equitable use of natural resources, effective institutions, peace, justice and human rights.

To leave no one behind, we must reach those who are furthest behind, first. That means specifically targeting the marginalized and displaced.

Since the turn of the century, Argentina has made important advances with regard to the Millennium Development Goals, with significant progress in access to social services, decent work and education. But, today, Argentina and the world continue to face social, economic and environmental challenges that must be addressed to achieve a life of peace, dignity and opportunity for all. The 2030 Agenda is how we will achieve this.

Argentina is off to an excellent start in implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Government's commitment to "zero poverty" is perfectly aligned with the spirit of the SDGs.

It is important to allocate the necessary resources and continue the social programmes that will contribute to reaching these goals. Likewise, it is important to keep in mind regional and local disparities and ensure that sustainable development reaches all, from La Quiaca, in the north, to Ushuaia, in the south. We all know that business as usual is not an option.

The UN system stands ready to support Argentina in its efforts to innovate and ensure equality and inclusion for all its citizens, as well as to monitor progress through timely and accurate data. I know this is a key objective of your Government.

Three months after Agenda 2030 was agreed, the international community made an equally historic commitment to address climate change in Paris in December 2015. The Paris Agreement finally provides the world with a far-reaching instrument to tackle perhaps the greatest challenge of this generation.

Argentina has shown a strong commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement at the national level. Argentina's aspiration to present more ambitious intended national contributions to the Paris Agreement is noteworthy. I commend the country's thrust towards energy diversification and renewable resources and the recent establishment of a Climate Change Cabinet to coordinate comprehensive policy for carbon emission reduction and climate-related risk mitigation.

We need such commitments to inspire a race to the top and limit global temperature rise to well below 2C.

In April, a record number of Member States signed the Paris Agreement on climate change in New York. Now we need to bring that Agreement into force this year. To help advance this process, I will convene an event in September for countries to deposit their instruments of ratification.

Tackling climate change is essential for sustainable development. The actions needed to reduce emissions and build climate resilience are the very same that are needed to lay the foundation for prosperity and security for all and set the world on a sustainable footing for generations to come.

The agreements of last year point to renewed faith in multilateralism. And at a time of significant global challenges, they give us hope that we can overcome global divisions in the name of the common good.

Around the world there is too much poverty, too much suffering and too much conflict. Civil wars have tripled in the last 10 years, endangering some of our most important post-cold war advances.

Conflict and protracted crises also undermine our efforts to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda. In the Sahel, across the Maghreb and into the Middle East, violence is shattering lives, disrupting development and forcing millions from their homes. Violent extremism is on the rise. The proliferation of armed non-State actors and the increasing links between terrorist groups and organized crime and drug trafficking have made conflicts more intractable, less amenable to negotiated settlements, and more catastrophic for civilians.

More people than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced. This is more than at any time since the founding of the United Nations.

Humanitarian needs far surpass our collective capacities for response. Eighty per cent of all humanitarian needs are driven by conflict, often exacerbated by climate change and resource-based disputes.

In May, we held the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. 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.

In September, I am convening a high-level summit on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. This will be a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response.

Argentina has already taken a step towards that goal with its commitment to welcome Syrian refugees. Argentina is once again extending a hand of hospitality to foreigners in need, reconfirming that this is a country deeply grounded in the beliefs of multiculturalism and religious freedom.

The tragic loss of life and the extensive destruction in places like Syria and Yemen represent a failure to live up to the founding ideals of the United Nations. Future generations will judge us harshly for our collective inability to end these brutal conflicts.

After living through a dark period of military rule, Argentina has been able to reinvent itself. Your historic transition into a solid democracy with justice, accountability and rule of law is an example of hope for the world. Argentina sends a clear message that a society can only flourish by respecting human rights, cultural and religious diversity, democratic processes and justice.

I count on Argentina's support in the critical years ahead as we work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and provide peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.

Source: United Nations