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UN Secretary-General: Opening remarks with NZ PM John Key

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Auckland (New Zealand)

7 September 2011

Opening remarks at press conference with Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister Key,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media,

I am honoured to participate in this very historic, 40th anniversary of the PIF leaders' meeting and I am also very pleased to have a very successful constructive visit, bilateral, to New Zealand.

And I thank you very much for your initiative of hosting this very important meeting.

I am here to continue sounding a global alarm about climate change. As you know, I have visited almost all the places around the world where I could see the impact of climate change, including the North and South Poles, and you name it. And my most recent visits to Solomon Islands and Kiribati have reinforced my belief and conviction that climate change is happening and we must take action now.

Having visited these two Pacific Island states I have a much keener sense of the challenges of Pacific Island states

And, of course, I saw the real world vulnerability of these lands.

For the countries of the region, climate change is not about what might happen tomorrow. This is about what is happening now, today.

The countries of the Pacific are at the front of the front-lines of climate change. And I share the region''s concerns and I support their calls for more concerted action.

We have had a very good discussion this afternoon about climate change, ocean economies, regional peace and security and other issues.

We also discussed the importance of expanding opportunities and democratic participation for women in the region.

There is much room for improvement and today I heard a genuine commitment from the leaders to improve upon this record and ensure that Pacific Island countries can benefit from the power and potential of all its citizens, particularly including women.

Our two organizations, the United Nations and PIF, have agreed to explore ways to further strengthen our cooperation in addressing key economic, environmental, security and human challenges.

Through adoption of the joint statement as the result of our interactive dialogue, in particular we have agreed to meet at regular intervals – starting next year at the opening of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. We will further strengthen our cooperating partnership.

This will ensure that the priorities of the region for its future welfare and development remain firmly registered with the organization at its highest levels.

Prime Minister, let me thank you for being such a strong partner of the United Nations. I am very grateful for such a strong support that New Zealand has been providing to the United Nations.

New Zealand is a reliable contributor to peacekeeping. You are a major development donor, particularly to your neighbours here in the Pacific. You are a model country, protecting and promoting human rights and gender empowerment.

I look forward to further strengthening this partnership in the years ahead.

My main priority as I look ahead to my second term is sustainable development, and my main approach will be to connect the dots between and among climate change, water scarcity, food crisis and energy shortages, gender empowerment and all [ kinds of] global diseases.

Just as people and countries are interconnected increasingly, so are the issues.

We can connect the dots, all these, to make a very comprehensive, integrated approach to these issues.

This will be a key focus as we prepare for the Rio+20 summit meeting next year.

And I count on [the] continuing support and leadership role being played by Prime Minister Key and your Government.

Thank you.

ENDS

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