“If we don’t urgently change our ways of life, we jeopardize life itself” 

The Secretary-General speaks at the opening of the Climate Action Summit. UN Photo/ Loey Felipe


On Monday, the Secretary-General opened the United Nations Climate Action Summit with a clear warning: “Nature is angry and we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature. Because nature always strikes back. And around the world, nature is striking back with fury.” He stressed: “Our warming earth is issuing a chilling cry.” The Secretary-General stressed “There is a cost to everything.  But the biggest cost is doing nothing. The biggest cost is subsidizing a dying fossil fuel industry, building more and more coal power plants, and denying what is plain as day. That we are in a deep climate hole and to get out, we must first stop digging.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the Opening of UN Youth Climate Summit. UN Photo/ Kim Haughton

On Saturday, the Secretary-General attended the UN Youth Climate Summit. In the opening, alongside young climate activists Komal Karishma Kumar, Wanjũhĩ Njoroge, Greta Thunberg and Bruno Rodriguez, the Secretary-General said he was “really very enthusiastic about the leadership and the dynamism of the youth movement for climate action today in the world.” That same day, he also took part in a live conversation on Instagram with young actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Aidan Gallagher.

Remarks at Climate Action Summit: https://bit.ly/2kTbCtm

Remarks at Youth Summit: https://bit.ly/2kYlO3v

Universal Health Coverage event, “important landmark on our journey to health for all”

“The Political Declaration in front of us is the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health”, said the Secretary-General on Monday, at the high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage. He said that making Universal Health Coverage a reality by 2030 depends “first and foremost on bold national leadership” and called on all participants to be “champions of health for all.”

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2mCl6cQ

Secretary-General announces agreement for Constitutional Committee in Syria

On Monday, the Secretary-General announced the agreement of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Negotiations Commission “for a credible, balanced and inclusive Constitutional Committee that will be facilitated by the United Nations in Geneva.”

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2l80okH

Persecution of religious minorities is “utterly intolerable”

“It is totally unacceptable in the 21st century for people to face discrimination and intimidation for their beliefs,” the Secretary-General said in remarks to an event on Religious Freedom on Monday, convened by President Donald Trump of the United States. The Secretary-General recalled that, under his initiative as Prime-Minister, Portugal enshrined religious freedom into the nation’s law in 2001. He also highlighted two action plans recently released by the United Nations: one against hate speech; the other to safeguard religious sites and ensure the safety of houses of worship.

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2l4J7J5

“Our world’s forests are on fire”

On Monday, the Secretary-General spoke at the Alliance for Rainforests event and stressed that “deforestation is continuing at an alarming rate.” He highlighted that forest fires “not only contribute to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide, but also destroy trees and vegetation that act as a carbon sink and actively remove these emissions from our air.” “We will not overcome the climate emergency without safeguarding our planet’s very lungs.” The Secretary-General also warned that “as the ferocity of this summer’s wildfires and heatwaves shows, we need to protect and grow our forests now before fires consume our future.”

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2kAGmPr

“Only public-private cooperation can deliver sustainable development”

On Sunday, the Secretary-General attended the launch of the United Nations Principles of Responsible Banking, stating that they provide a “guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy.” “I am counting on the private sector to support ambitious action,” he said.

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2l5ERZI

Bilateral meetings with world leaders

In the first days of the General Assembly high-level week, the Secretary-General held bilateral meetings with numerous world leaders. Readouts of the meetings can be found at the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General.

Readouts: https://bit.ly/2moMavT

Advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals

On Sunday, the Secretary-General met with the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates and stressed their vital role in mobilizing for the Decade of Action for delivery of the 2030 Agenda.

Secretary-General meets Sustainable Development Goals advocates: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Readout: https://bit.ly/2m7tJMe

Pacific nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis”

On Saturday, the Secretary-General met with Pacific Islands Forum leaders and stressed that their nations are on the frontline of some of society’s “most pressing” challenges.
Recalling his recent visit to the region, he said, “I saw the determination of the people of the Pacific to tackle the climate emergency – and the innovation you are showing in doing so. You contribute relatively little – I would say almost nothing — to global heating, yet you are vulnerable to some of the harshest impacts,” the Secretary-General said.

Remarks: https://bit.ly/2m12oeI

Statements and messages

Video message on the International Day of Peace: https://bit.ly/2kzIZBb

On the International Day of Sign Languages: https://bit.ly/2kvHPXc


The General Debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly begins on Tuesday. The Secretary-General will also attend the Sustainable Development Goals Summit and an event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. He will also continue his bilateral meetings with world leaders.