Activities of Secretary-General in Indonesia, 14-16 November

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres flew from Phnom Penh to Bali via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday, 14 November.  During his layover in Kuala Lumpur, the Secretary-General had a virtual meeting with Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia.

Upon his arrival in Bali that evening, the Secretary-General held a press conference at the Group of 20 (G20) Summit media centre.  He told journalists that the G20 Summit comes at crucial time when our world is facing the most pivotal, precarious moment in generations.  People everywhere are getting hit from every direction — battered by runaway climate change and squeezed by a cost-of-living crisis, he said, and added that the G20 is ground zero for bridging divisions and finding answers to today’s major crises.  The Secretary-General also stressed that action — or inaction — by the G20 will determine whether every member of our human family has a chance to live sustainably and peacefully on a healthy planet.

That night, he was briefed by the Under Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Li Junhua, on the G20 outcome document.  This was followed by a virtual meeting convened by the President of Ukraine on the “Ukrainian children who were taken to the Russian Federation and adopted by Russian families”.

The next day, the Secretary-General took part in the official arrival of heads of delegation and official welcome to the G20 Summit, which was hosted by the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.  This was followed by his remarks to the Food and Energy Crises session.  He told G20 members that without coordinated action, this year’s crisis of affordability may become next year’s global food shortage.

He underscored that the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the agreement to facilitate the supplies of Russian fertilizers, including ammonia, to global markets are essential and underscored that the United Nations is working nonstop to resolve all issues to renew the Initiative.  He also reiterated his call for an Sustainable Development Goals Stimulus to provide countries in the Global South with adequate liquidity, through a wider reallocation of special drawing rights, concessional financing to middle income countries in distress and effective mechanisms of debt relief and restructuring.

The Secretary-General then attended the Leaders’ Lunch, as well as the Health Working Group Session in the afternoon.  This was followed by a meeting with the Foreign Minister for the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov and the welcoming dinner for all leaders.

On Wednesday morning, the Secretary-General issued a statement via his Spokesperson on the reported missile strikes that exploded in Polish territory.  In the statement, the Secretary-General said it is absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine, and he sent his condolences to the families of the victims.  He also hoped that a thorough investigation would be conducted.

The Secretary-General then took part in the G20 Summit’s session on Digital Transformation and said that, with the right policies in place, digital technology can give an unprecedented boost to sustainable development, particularly for the poorest countries.

“This calls for more connectivity; and less digital fragmentation.  More bridges across digital divides; and fewer barriers.  Greater autonomy for ordinary people; less abuse and disinformation,” the Secretary-General said, adding that, without guidance and guardrails, digital technology also has huge potential for harm.

On the side lines of the Summit, the Secretary-General met with Vasyl Hamianin, Ambassador to the Embassy of Ukraine in Indonesia.  He later also met with the President of China, Xi Jinping.

The Secretary-General left Bali that night.

For information media. Not an official record.