The Secretary-General's Remarks at the Opening of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit

30 Nov 2017

The Secretary-General's Remarks at the Opening of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 29 November 2017

[as delivered]

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Sustainable and inclusive development is an end in itself. But lack of development and inclusive government, including poverty, inequality and exclusion, are factors in creating conflict and driving terrorism and violent extremism.  Climate change is also an existential threat for some, and a multiplier of threats for all. Climate action is the absolute priority of our times. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is a must.

National governments must lead our response, but multilateral cooperation and capacity building are crucial.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 are ambitious and mutually reinforcing blueprints for a world of peace, prosperity and dignity for all.

A strong and effective EU and a strong and effective AU are essential pillars of global cooperation for peace and security, development and human rights. 

In this context, gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental.  The EU and the UN recently launched the ‘Spotlight Initiative’, an effort to eliminate the global scourge of violence against women. I look forward to working with African governments to strengthen action on laws and policies, institutions, prevention, and services for survivors.


Regional organizations are essential to face the very difficult challenges that threaten us.

Those who drafted the United Nations Charter showed great wisdom and prescience when they devoted Chapter 8 to the role of regional cooperation. The importance of regional organizations grows with every decade that passes.

Regional and global solidarity must be our guide, as we draw on our collective efforts to build a life of peace, dignity and prosperity for all.

Thank you very much.