Activities of Secretary-General in Portugal, 24-28 June

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres departed New York for Lisbon on Friday, 24 June.  He would attend the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference, which aimed to incentivize action to propel much needed science-based innovation solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

On Sunday, 26 June, the Secretary-General addressed and engaged with young people at the UN Ocean Conference Youth and Innovation Forum, which took place at Carcavelos Beach.  Alongside the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Cabinet Secretary for Energy of Kenya, Monica Kathina Juma, the Secretary-General apologized on behalf of his generation for the state of the oceans, for the state of biodiversity and for the state of climate change.  He warned the youth present that they will need to do everything to reverse everything — reverse political decisions, reverse economic decisions and reverse individual behaviour.  (See Press Release SG/SM/21352.)

Later in the day, the Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with President Rebelo de Sousa.  Following their meeting, the Secretary-General held a brief stakeout in which he responded to a question on Ukraine and United Nations efforts regarding the world food insecurity situation.  He stressed that the United Nations was making a great effort to try to solve, or help to solve, the problem and that there had been intense communication, both with the Ukrainians, Russians and Turks, and on the other hand, with the United States and the European Union, in order to facilitate the safe and secure export of Ukrainian food products in the Black Sea and at the same time exports of Russian cereals and fertilizers.

On Monday, 27 June, the Secretary-General addressed the opening ceremony of the 2022 Ocean Conference, along with the leaders of the two co-hosting nations — Portugal and Kenya.  He warned that we have taken the ocean for granted, and today we face what he would call an “ocean emergency”, adding that we must now turn the tide.

The Secretary-General emphasized that we cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean and that our failure to care for the ocean will have ripple effects across the entire 2030 Agenda.  He called on all to do their part to make a difference for the oceans.  (See Press Release SG/SM/21354.)

Soon after, while addressing the media in a joint press encounter with the Presidents of Portugal and Kenya, the Secretary-General warned that our oceans are issuing an SOS.  We must work together to right these wrongs, he stressed. 

On Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General briefed the G7 leaders by videoconference in a closed session.  In his remarks, the Secretary-General underscored the continuing global impact, especially on developing countries, and the food crises, due to the war in Ukraine.

Throughout the day, the Secretary-General also held meetings with Portugal Prime Minister António Costa, as well as with other representatives and Heads of State.

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Tuesday, 28 June.

For information media. Not an official record.