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António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) Briefs Press on New Plan for Digital Cooperation - Press Conference (12 July 2018)
12 Jul 2018 -  With negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration expected to conclude on Friday in New York, for formal adoption in December in Marrakesh, Secretary-General António Guterres told a press conference at UN Headquarters today (12 Jul) that “migration is a positive global phenomenon.”

The Secretary-General said “many aging developed countries need migrants to fill crucial gaps in labour markets. And climate change and other factors, including simple human aspiration, will continue to lead people to seek opportunity far from their homes. But if migration is inevitable, it needs to be better organized through effective international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination, so that we do not leave control of movements of people in the hands of smugglers and traffickers.”

He noted that migrants number more than 250 million around the world, making up 3 per cent of the global population and contributing 10 per cent of the overall global gross domestic product.

Guterres expressed hope “that sooner or later the United States will also join this process” and added that “the United States is in itself a country of immigration.”

The Secretary-General also announced the establishing of a High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation which will be co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma.

He said “new tech developments from artificial intelligence to blockchain and robotics are emerging every day. And at the same time, the world is only beginning to address the dark side of innovation – such as cybersecurity threats, the risks of cyberwarfare, the magnification of hate speech, and violations of privacy. As a global community, we face questions about security, equity, ethics, and human rights in a digital age. We need to seize the potential of technology while safeguarding against risks and unintended consequences.”

The Secretary-General also gave an update on UN action to tackle sexual harassment in-house, announcing a series of measures.

He said, “we live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. This is one reason why ensuring gender parity and the empowerment of women and girls is central. I am determined to do all we can to tackle sexual harassment at the Secretariat and system-wide in the United Nations.”

He said he wants staff “to feel confident about coming forward instead of staying silent for fear of retribution or flawed inquiries.”

Guterres stressed that “zero tolerance in words must mean zero tolerance in deeds.”

Turning to multilateralism, he said, “one thing is to advocate for reforms that adapt the multilateral system to the new conditions that exist today and that are different in many aspects in relation to what they were after second world war. The second is to think that we can live without a multilateral system or without a rules-based international set of relations. It is my deep belief that the challenges we face are more and more global challenges and only through multilateral governance and the rules-based international system we will be able to respond to that.”

On the current talks between the United States and Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Guterres said, “hiccups, in a process like this, there will be many, inevitably. But I think that there are very good possibilities for this dialogue to lead to a solution, a positive solution, aiming at the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and all of our interest, of course, is to support that effort of the two member states.”
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