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President Borut Pahor and UN Secretary-General António Guterres meet and open an exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of ITF

New York, 29. 3. 2019 | press release

President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor is on a working visit in New York, where he had a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The two opened an exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of ITF Enhancing Human Security. During his visit, President Pahor met with UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces, who also attended the opening of the Slovenian exhibition.

In his talk with UN Secretary-General Guterres, President Pahor thanked him for participating in the opening of the Slovenian exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of ITF, saying that it was recognition of the organisation’s efforts in providing security and aiding in the recovery and development of conflict-stricken countries.

The pair exchanged views on the special climate change conference, which is a further step in the preparations for the Climate Action Summit to be held on the initiative of the UN Secretary-General at the UN in September 2019. President Pahor said that we could be relatively satisfied with the outcome of the international meeting of the COP24 leaders in Katowice in December, which resulted in the adoption of the Rules on Implementing the Paris Agreement. He also underlined that there was still a long road ahead with regard to climate change measures and effects. President Pahor and UN Secretary-General Guterres agreed that stronger political will and mobilisation were needed to combat climate change. Slovenia is strongly committed to sustainable and green development, President Pahor stated, adding that this commitment had been included in the Slovenian Development Strategy 2030, the Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy, and the Vision of Slovenia 2050.

During the discussion, they primarily focused on current developments in the Western Balkans. President Pahor, as the Co-chair of the Brdo–Brijuni Process, presented the plans related to the Leaders’ Summit to be held in Tirana in May. They discussed the possibility of the UN Secretary-General attending a future summit.

President Borut Pahor and UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Photo: Uprs

At the evening event held at the UN Palace, President Pahor and UN General-Secretary Guterres solemnly opened a photography exhibition entitled "20 Years of Slovenian Commitment to Humanitarian Mine Action". The exhibition marks two decades of ITF activities and the commitment of Slovenia in the struggle against landmines around the world. ITF Enhancing Human Security is an organisation established by Slovenia with the initial purpose of helping Bosnia and Herzegovina. During its existence, ITF has broadened its activities to other parts of the world. The exhibition features works by the acclaimed Slovenian photographers Arne Hodalič, Borut Živulović and Žiga Živulović, who have been following ITF’s work for a number of years. The displayed photographs capture the tragic loss of life from landmines and other unexploded ordnance of war and the courage of people who eliminate explosive hazards.

In his opening speech, President Pahor highlighted that over the past twenty years ITF Enhancing Human Security has been strengthening its mission of enhancing safety as well as enabling the recovery and development of conflict-affected countries. ITF gradually expanded the scope of its intensive demining activities to include other security hazards, from conflict prevention to the resolution of other development and reconstruction issues. In this way, the organisation has helped numerous victims to undergo rehabilitation, removed countless mines and educated many affected communities.

Currently, the ITF provides assistance to countries around the world, ranging from the Kyrgyz Republic and Afghanistan in Asia, to Colombia in South America and Nigeria in Africa, from Libya on the edge of the Mediterranean, to Albania and Croatia in Europe, and elsewhere.

"One of ITF’s greatest achievements is its ability to emphasise the ‘human' aspect of enhancing human security", President Pahor said, stressing the importance of the personal and respectful approach of the organisation. He pointed out that since 1998 ITF has assisted 1,303 individuals who have been physically disabled due to the blast of explosive ordnance. All of them were physically rehabilitated and, in spite of their injuries, the victims have been given the chance to start a new life.

"It is thanks to donor and public support that ITF has been able to become a leader in human security, and that has allowed ITF to reach an impressive milestone in helping people and communities around the world for two decades," President Pahor concluded his speech.

After the opening ceremony, Slovenian President Borut Pahor, UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces and UN Secretary-General António Guterres were given a guided tour of the exhibition by ITF Director Tomaž Lovrenčič.

As part of his visit to New York, President Borut Pahor met today with UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces. He thanked her for the invitation to attend the special UN Climate Change Conference and for her participation in the previous night’s opening ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of ITF’s activities.

The pair exchanged views on the special Climate Change Conference, which is a further step in the preparations for the Climate Action Summit to be held at the United Nations in September 2019.

They agreed that we needed global solutions to successfully tackle the global challenges of the present and to shape the management of an increasingly complex future. This is particularly true as regards addressing the climate crisis. They shared the view that together we needed to create convincing, effective and sustainable climate action, and act while bearing in mind that we are responsible for building a secure future for generations to come.

The two dignitaries also exchanged views on other current international issues, including the UN’s activities. President Pahor expressed his strong support for multilateralism, explaining that Slovenia strives for effective multilateralism, with the United Nations (UN) at its core, based on the premise that peace, security, development and human rights are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing, while ensuring respect for international law and the goals and principles of the UN Charter. Slovenian activities in the UN General Assembly are traditionally focused on the protection and promotion of human rights, respect for and strengthening international law, conflict prevention and promotion of the concept of human security.

President Pahor and the UN General Assembly President also discussed global measures to face the migration issue and ways to address this issue more effectively and coherently. They touched upon the issue of Venezuela, especially from a humanitarian point of view.

Yesterday, President Pahor attended the opening of the High-level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development for All, organised by the General Assembly of the United Nations. He then attended the plenary session, where he delivered a speech. The leaders continued their discussion at a round table during a working lunch, focusing on youth and intergenerational mobilisation.

President Borut Pahor met with UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces
Photo: Uprs