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Regional, Global Solidarity Must Guide Collective Aim to Build Peace, Dignity, Prosperity for All, Secretary-General Tells Fifth African-European Summit

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Following are Secretary-General António Guterres' remarks at the opening of the African Union-European Union Summit, in Abidjan today:

It gives me great pleasure to join you in welcoming the strategic partnership between your two organizations, a partnership that is very dear to me.

Indeed, as Prime Minister of Portugal and President of the European Council, I had the honor of co-chairing with President Bouteflika the first Africa-European Union Summit in 2000. The Cairo Declaration laid the foundations for joint work that continues today.

I salute the attention given to youth, including the search for sustainable, inclusive and job-creating development for young people.

Young people are the engine of our societies and we must listen to them. We need to put them at the heart of our national and international development plans. Meeting their aspirations is essential in a development perspective;but it is also an essential element for preserving peace and our collective security.

We must change the relationship with Africa and establish a new platform of cooperation that recognizes the enormous potential of this continent.

It is in this spirit that I have signed, with His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, a Framework Agreement to strengthen our peace and security partnership and another agreement on sustainable development that will follow next year.

To achieve these goals, we need to increase our joint efforts in prevention and mediation. But we also need increased cooperation for the deployment of African forces capable of imposing peace and combating terrorism, with a strong mandate from the United Nations Security Council.

It is time to provide the appropriate means to regional organizations, including clear and strong mandates, accompanied by an evaluation mechanism and an adequate and predictable funding system.

The European Union, moreover, provides substantial political and financial support, as well as expertise and know-how which are considerable assets in our collective effort.

In this spirit, the African Union and the United Nations, with the support of the European Union, can help the G5-Sahel deal with transnational threats and terrorism.

We need a force with a mandate to live up to these threats and sustainable funding.

That is why I invited the Security Council to be ambitious in its choice on this issue.

The example of AMISOM or the joint actions in the Central African Republic are, with the G5 Sahel, three obvious examples of the importance of trilateral cooperation between the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations.

Sustainable and inclusive development is an end in itself. Aim, 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 a 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 [European Union] and a strong and effective [African Union] 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 [European Union] and the [United Nations] recently launched the Spotlight Initiative, an effort to eliminate the global scourge of violence against women. To institutions, prevention and services for survivors.

The recent atrocious images of migrants sold in Libya remind us of the urgency to act. Migration presents challenges, but also opportunities for development, the promotion of decent work and enhanced collaboration.

All countries have the right and the obligation to manage their borders in a responsible and sovereign way. But they must do so in full respect of international refugee law, and the human rights of refugees and migrants.

When migration is orderly and regular, migrants contribute positively to host countries and countries of origin. We will not put an end to the tragedies in the Mediterranean if we do not create significant opportunities for legal migration.

It is also important that development cooperation policies help to give people the choice to find a dignified future in their own homes. These two conditions are essential to effectively combat the traffickers and smugglers, the most horrible criminals of our time. 

Regional organizations are essential to facing the very difficult challenges that threaten us. Those who drafted the United Nations Charter showed great wisdom and prescience when they The importance of regional organizations grows with every decade that passes. Regional and global solidarity must be our guide to our collective efforts to build a life of peace, dignity and prosperity for all.

For information media. Not an official record.