UN Secretary General acknowledges Latvia’s digital transformation and active response to climate change
On 22 September, the President of Latvia, Egils Levits, who is currently in New York, the United States of America, met with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Manoel de Oliveira Guterres. The UN Secretary General thanked Latvia for supporting various UN initiatives during the greeting.
Meeting between the UN Secretary General and the President of Latvia was strongly focused on climate change challenges. Secretary General Guterres highlighted that the European Union (EU) continues to lead the global fight against climate change.
President Levits confirmed that Latvia and eight other EU member states are calling for more ambitious climate policy. He also underlined that climate change needs to be tackled in a multilateral format which requires solidarity between all countries of the world, and the United Nations is the suitable format for global effort. President of Latvia also expressed his concern that not all countries share the same opinion.
Another issue discussed by the Secretary General Guterres and the President Levits was threats to democracy and fundamental rights. Secretary General outlined specific UN initiatives, including its hate speech initiative, and praised Latvia’s digital and cyber security expertise. President of Latvia assured that Latvia is ready to get actively involved in establishing of international digital regulatory framework.
President Levits reiterated the position of Latvia on the importance of strengthening the principles of rule of law in the international law and the need to apply sanctions against any country which violates such principles. President of Latvia pointed out that Latvia recognises the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and is ready to get fully involved in the international framework and strengthening of the rule of law. Such engagement would enable Latvia to defend against countries that violate their international obligations towards Latvia.
In conclusion, President Levits invited Secretary General to visit Latvia in 2020. “Next year the UN will celebrate 75 years since its founding in 1945. Due to occupation, Baltic countries were not able to become members of the newly founded organisation. Your visit on anniversary of the UN, 75 years after the end of the World War II, would be deeply symbolic,” said President Levits.
On his first day of the US visit, the President of Latvia, Egils Levits, met with the UN Youth delegates from Latvia Kristiāna Plāte, Oto Davidovs and Keita Alaide Dīcmane. President Levits praised Latvian youth for its role in national and international civic activities. He complimented their dedication, expertise and commitment which requires a great sense of responsibility.
President and delegates discussed youth perspective on climate change. Youth delegates stressed that it is not enough to draw the attention of the politicians to the problem, youth must also find ways of providing meaningful input in promotion of sustainability at practical level.
Kristiāna Plāte is an active leader of youth organisation ‘Māja’ (‘the House’), while Oto Davidovs is the founder of Global Shapers Riga hub, an initiative led by the World Economic Forum, and Keita Alaide Dīcmane is a student of New York University and an intern at Latvia’s permanent mission to the UN.