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We inform, we communicate

Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter with Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

SG: This summit is a demonstration that the partnership between the African Union and the UN is an absolutely central, strategic partnership for the United Nations. We consider that our work, in peace and security, in human rights, in development, in relation to climate change - our work can only succeed in the world if it succeeds in Africa. We believe that our work can only succeed in Africa if we work hand in hand together with the African Union.

We have worked, looking into all the crisis situations that exist in Africa, and I believe that we have established a clear mutual understanding, seeing eye to eye in relation to each of the situations, and having a firm decision to work together to help overcome the crises still existing in the continent.

But there are two central messages that I would like to convey today. One is in relation to climate change. Climate change is the defining issue of our time. The African continent practically does not contribute to climate change, but the African continent is one of the areas of the world where the impact of climate change is more dramatic and devastating. Look at the storms in Mozambique and Zimbabwe and Malawi or look at the drought progressing dramatically in areas like the Sahel.

We are not winning the battle in relation to climate change. We need more ambition in mitigation, more ambition in adaptation, more ambition in financing in order to create the conditions to reverse the present trends. This is the reason why we will have our climate summit in September. It is absolutely essential for states, for the business community, for cities, for all to assume the engagement to reduce emissions by 45% to 2030, and to come to a net zero emissions in 2050. Without that, the African continent will inevitably have dramatic impacts that will undermine its development and will undermine its security, and the whole world will suffer.

Second, we have a common project, the Agenda 2063 of African Development and the Agenda 2030 of sustainable development globally. The two agendas are aligned, but the two agendas that aim at a fair globalization, aim at development that is sustainable and that is inclusive, cannot be implemented without financing. And a common battle that we will be facing in the next few months is to make sure that there is a quantum leap in the available financing to development, not only in the African continent, but particularly in the African continent, that is not only from the point of view of the expression of international solidarity, but it is from the point of view of enlightened self- interest.

Development in Africa is a fundamental precondition for more equilibrium, for more peace in the world, for phenomena like migration to be more easily handled, and so it in the interests of the whole international community to substantially increase the financing for development available for African countries.

These are two battles - climate change and financing for development - in which the African Union and the UN will work hand in hand in the months to come.

Q: Secretary-General, you have had little success so far in your call for a ceasefire in Libya, the one for Ramadan. What is your message to General [Khalifa] Haftar, and to Mr. Faki, what is the African Union doing to help achieve a ceasefire in Libya. Who are you speaking with, and what are you doing for the many African migrants caught in the conflict?

SG: I have no message, in particular, for any person. I have a message to all Libyans at the present moment. In line with the position that was taken by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, we strongly appeal for a cessation of hostilities, for a ceasefire. At least we have now an initiative, as you know, for a truce during Ramadan, but what we need is a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities and foreign interference to allow Libyans to be able to once again come together and discuss seriously, politically, a way through. We had common initiatives, a common roadmap that included, and we were prepared for that, a national conference to take place in Libya, and then a national reconciliation conference to take place in Addis [Ababa]. We hope that conditions will be reestablished, allowing for these initiatives to move again in the future, but for the moment the main priority is a ceasefire in Libya.

Q: A follow up question, and I would like to try again on General Haftar – to both of you, what do you make of his current moves and his plan to continue his offensive during Ramadan, and Secretary-General, is he again showing you what he showed you when you were visiting Libya, which is utter defiance?

SG: My position is very clear. It is an appeal [for] a ceasefire, which means cessation of hostilities, which means no more offensive. That is very clear.

Q: [inaudible]

SG: Not only to him, but also to him.

Q: I would like to ask about Sudan. Mr. Secretary-General, how do you see the measures taken by the authorities in Khartoum regarding the transition, and do you have a message for the authorities in terms of the time that authority will be moved to a civilian government?

SG: Our position has been very clear. I have a Special Adviser on Sudan, [Nicholas] Haysom, and his mission is to support the efforts of the African Union to reach a successful, peaceful transition in Sudan. Chairperson Faki was in Sudan, and so I will ask him, please, to convey the message that I believe is the most important one, as we are, in this regard, working closely to support the African Union initiatives.

Q: Thank you very much for the briefing. My question is about climate. There is a report out today that was… scientists in addition to UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) that says that one million plant and animal species may be extinct in the coming years. Africa is mentioned. You talked about cooperation and a lot of agreements. Is it too late, and what can be done to reverse this tide? Thank you.

SG: It is not too late, but we are getting close to the moment in which it will be irreversible, that we will not be able to reach the end of the century with only 1.5 degrees of global warming. It is absolutely essential not to go beyond that, because the impacts in the world will be catastrophic. And one of the impacts is in relation to biodiversity. But there are many more. Our objective is to make sure that the ambition that was established in Paris is now increased.

We need several things: we need carbon pricing, everywhere. We need the end of subsidies to fossil fuels, everywhere. We have been advocating for the need not to have more coal electric plants being built after 2020, and we are asking for a number of very important transformations - in industry, in energy, in mobility, in agriculture, and in consumption - a transformation that will make us able to reverse the present trend and to guarantee that the increase in temperature until the end of the century will not be above 1.5 [degrees]. But we are not yet there. We are still losing the battle. Climate change is still running faster than we are, and if we don't reverse this trend, it will be a tragedy for the whole world, and Africa will be particularly affected negatively by that.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations - Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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