Vertice ASEAN – Osservazioni del SG alla stampa





Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 12 November 2022  


Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the media.  

It’s a great pleasure to be here in Cambodia for the 12th ASEAN-UN summit that was held yesterday.  

ASEAN is a strong and committed partner of the United Nations, and a supporter of multilateral solutions to the challenges we face.  

ASEAN has an important role on the global stage, where geopolitical divides threaten to trigger new conflicts while making old ones more difficult to resolve.  

As I told yesterday’s summit meeting, we must avoid at all costs the division of the global economy into two parts, led by the two biggest economies – the United States and China.  

Such a rift, with two different sets of rules, two dominant currencies, two internets, and two conflicting strategies on artificial intelligence, would undermine the world’s capacity to respond to the dramatic challenges we face.  

ASEAN members are particularly well placed to help bridge this divide. We must have one global economy and global market with access for all. 

Yesterday’s meeting was an opportunity for a valuable exchange with ASEAN leaders on issues including Myanmar, the war in Ukraine, the global energy and food crisis, as well as the climate emergency that confronts us all. 

The situation in Myanmar is an unending nightmare for the people of that country, and a threat to peace and security across the region.  

Indiscriminate attacks on civilians are horrendous and heartbreaking.  

I urge the authorities of Myanmar to listen to their people, release political prisoners, and get the democratic transition back on track immediately. That is the only way to stability and peace.  ASEAN has taken a principled approach through the Five-Point Consensus. I urge all countries, including ASEAN members, to seek a unified strategy towards Myanmar, centred on the needs and aspirations of the country’s people.  

I reiterate my call for urgent action by the Myanmar authorities to create conditions for the voluntary return of almost one million Rohingya refugees. 

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, 

I have just come from the COP27 climate summit in Egypt; and I am going to the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.  

These two meetings are crucial to the ASEAN region – and ASEAN member states are essential to the multilateral solutions that must emerge from these two meetings.  

First, the climate talks. The largest economies have the greatest responsibility to cut emissions and keep rising temperatures within the 1.5 degree limit of the Paris Agreement.  

But every country has a part to play.  

I am calling for a historic pact – a Climate Solidarity Pact – between developed and emerging economies – and the biggest ones will be in Bali – under which they would combine resources and capacities for the benefit of all, to rescue our planet. They need to be united in order to defeat climate change.

Developed countries must lead the effort to get to net zero emissions.

But the only way to prevent our climate from catastrophic overheating is for a Climate Solidarity Pact, under which rich countries, Multilateral Development Banks and technological companies provide support to emerging economies to enable them to speed their transition to renewable energy.

I commend ASEAN member states that are showing the way through Just Energy Transition Partnerships like Indonesia and Viet Nam. 

Five ASEAN member states are in the top twenty countries most impacted by extreme weather events in the past two decades.  

I am urging leaders at COP27 to reach agreement on a financial mechanism to support countries that suffer loss and damage from climate-related disasters.  

Second, the G20. My priority in Bali will be to speak up for countries in the Global South that have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency, and now face crises in food, energy and finance – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and crushing debt.   

I am pushing G20 leaders to adopt a stimulus package to provide governments in the developing world with the investments and liquidity they need to get through these challenging times, and speed up debt relief and restructuring.  

We are also working to alleviate the looming food crisis, by extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative for Ukrainian grains, and by removing obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers.  

Rice is the crop most affected by the huge increase in fertilizer prices, which obviously has serious implications for the ASEAN region.   

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,  

In these turbulent times, regional organizations including ASEAN are essential to building global solutions.  

Our collaboration with ASEAN continues to grow, across areas from conflict prevention to climate action, sustainable development and social protection. 

I look forward to building even stronger and more productive relations in the years ahead.  

I am at your disposal for four questions. 

Thank you.  

Question: I have a question regarding the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration that Cambodia adopted in 2012. It’s the 10-year anniversary of the declaration, so from your perspective what have you been seeing regarding the human rights issue in ASEAN for a decade and for Cambodia what do you think? 

Answer: The situation is obviously different from country to country. But I’d like, first of all, to underline that human rights are economic, social cultural, political and civic, and you need to see human rights in its broader perspective.  

We have with ASEAN a cooperation agreement on human rights and there will be in two weeks time, a meeting with the ASEAN and committee on human rights. And of course, as I mentioned yesterday, it is extremely important that human rights are fully respected, economic, social, cultural, politic and civic. 

Indeed, my appeal and namely my appeal in the country like Cambodia is for the public space to be open and for human rights defenders and climate activists to be protected, and for the cooperation with the civil society to be extended. At the same time, our biggest spirit occupation relation to human rights is of course, Myanmar – that is where the systematic violations of human rights are, I would say, absolutely unacceptable and causing enormous suffering to the Myanmarese people.  

Question: What is your opinion on the situation on human rights in Cambodia? And did the UN raise this political and human rights issue during this meeting? 

Answer: Well, I already answered the question to the previous speaker. As I said, it’s important to have a public space, civic space, that is expanded. It’s important for human rights defenders and for climate activists to be protected, and for the civil society to play a wider role in society. So that was clearly my message. 

As I said, we intend to enhance our cooperation with ASEAN in relation to human rights and we are hopeful that this cooperation will lead to meaningful improvements.  

Question: I have two questions for you on Ukraine and Myanmar crisis. So my first question is what is your interpretation of the ASEAN statement on the Ukraine crisis? My second question is to what extent would you like to see ASEAN cooperate with the UN in resolving the crisis in Myanmar? 

Answer: Well, in relation to the second question, it is clear that what is very important is that the five-point consensus that we support moves ahead. I trust the Indonesian Presidency that will be dealing with the issue to develop a number of initiatives, allowing for the objective that I mentioned, to be finally achieved. 

We need to go back to a democracy to a transition to democracy. We need to release political prisoners. We need to establish an inclusive process and I’m confident that the Indonesian presidency will be working hard in the next year in that respect.  

In relation to Ukraine. Basically, our position in the United Nations is clear. What happened in, Ukraine, the invasion of Ukraine was a violation of the Charter. Was a violation of the territory integrity of the Ukraine, but at the same time, it is very important to create the conditions for progressively re-establish dialogue and progressively to start looking into a future where peace will prevail. Not any kind of peace – peace based on the values of the UN Charter and peace based on international law. 

Question: What is your response to criticism that the United Nations as well as ASEAN have failed the Myanmar people? And also regarding the 15 point statement that ASEAN has written up yesterday – do you think this statement is going to make a real difference on the ground in Myanmar? 

Answer:  Well, first of all, everybody has failed in relation to Myanmar. The international community as a whole has failed. And the UN is part of international community. It is dramatic to see the suffering of the Myanmarese people. Now, in relation to the movement forward and ASEAN’s movement forward. As I said, I believe that the Indonesian presidency with whom we have been cooperating with the government of Indonesia very closely in relation to Myanmar, I believe the Indonesian government will be able to push forward the agenda in a positive way and my special envoy is ready to fully cooperate with the ASEAN envoy in order to be able to create the conditions, to establish, as I mentioned, a democratic transition to let the political prisoners go in freedom and to end the dramatic violations of human rights in Myanmar.