The president spoke with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

The president spoke with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

On Monday 22 June 2020, President Zuzana Čaputová had a phone call  with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. The topics they discussed included the current pandemics and the importance of climate and environmental protection, which must not be forgotten in governments’ post-crisis economic aid packages.

In the president’s view, she and the Secretary-General have similar topics on their agenda and they also share similar views on how to deal with the consequences of the pandemic. “During the crisis, we saw there is a fine line between the necessary measures in line with the rule of law and human rights violations. This is a new experience for us and we have to find the right balance. The Secretary-General and I agreed that we would continue to cooperate on this matter in the future.

The president also spoke with the Secretary-General about the importance of climate and environment protection: these issues  must not be ignored in government plans for post-crisis economic assistance. “During the crisis, many people sought an escape from confinement at home in forests, parks and nature. This may have made us all more aware of how urgent the issue of environmental protection is. We should take it as an opportunity to change our way of thinking, and a chance to transform our economy. The economic recovery package that the European Commission is launching today is a step in the right direction.” 

The president invited the Secretary-General to visit Slovakia to continue their conversation. “In recent speeches, the UN Secretary-General has devoted special attention to the pandemic’s effects on women’s rights – from the provision of health care and the situation in the labour market to the rise of domestic violence and gender-based violence. We agreed that this is a grave problem and
I am glad that the UN will be paying more attention to it. I thanked him for his personal commitment, as the problem also affects Slovak women. The need to
assist victims of domestic violence was an issue that I too publicly raised during the pandemic.

Heads of state from all over the world meet in New York every September for the UN General Assembly debate. This year there will be no physical meeting in New York, however, because of
the pandemic. “I promised the Secretary-Generalthat I would take part in proceedings at least virtually, by giving a speech via video. When we all face such complicated challenges, it is important that we talk more and work together to find solutions."