Climate change “battle of my life”, Secretary-General stresses in South Pacific tour

The Secretary-General travelled to the South Pacific to spotlight the threat of climate change ahead of the Climate Action Summit that he is convening in September in New York. He visited New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, where he also met government leaders, civil society representatives and students. He said climate change was the battle of his life and stressed the need for much stronger political will to rescue the planet. He urged governments to shift taxes from salaries to carbon. “Tax pollution not people,” was his message, adding a call for a halt on subsidies to fossil fuels and on building new coal plants by 2020. The Secretary-General reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting the Pacific Islands’ response to climate change and to promoting global action to reduce the emissions that have put them at risk. While in the Pacific, the Secretary-General also underscored the threats faced by the oceans, from coral bleaching to biodiversity loss to plastic pollution.

The Secretary-General on a solar-powered sail boat in the South Pacific. UN Photo/Mark Garten 

Remarks at press encounter with Prime Minister of Tuvalu:

Remarks at press encounter with Prime Minister of Fiji:

Address to Fijian Parliament:

Remarks to the press with Pacific Islands Forum Troika and Pacific Island Forum Secretary-General:

Remarks at the closing of High-Level Political Dialogue of the Pacific Island Forum:

Remarks at the Pacific Islands Forum:

Remarks at press encounter with New Zealand Minister for Climate Change:

Remarks to Māori and Pasifika youth at event hosted by New Zealand Minister for Climate Change:

“Hate speech is spreading like wildfire on social media. We must extinguish it.” 

On Monday, the Secretary-General visited Christchurch, New Zealand, on a Ramadan solidarity visit and expressed his support and admiration for the Muslim community after the deadly attacks on mosques in March. “There is no room for hate speech – online or offline”, he said, stressing that the United Nations was mobilizing two initiatives: to protect holy sites and to address hate speech. In remarks to the press on Sunday, along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, he said his visit to the country was one of solidarity and gratitude — solidarity with the victims of Christchurch, their families and the people of New Zealand, and gratitude for the country’s leadership on climate change. 

The Secretary-General in Christchurch: UN Photo / Mark Garten

Remarks during visit with Muslim community in Christchurch:

Press encounter with Prime Minister of New Zealand:

Statement and messages

On the Day of Vesak:

On the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day:

On Sudan:

On Burkina Faso:

Next Week

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General will deliver remarks at the openings of the 2019 African Dialogue series and of the Economic and Social Council’s segment on operational activities for development. On Thursday, he will participate on a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians.