Meeting of the Socialist International Presidium and Heads of State & Government, United Nations, New York
25 September 2019
The Socialist International and its member parties have been among the leaders of the movement for a sustainable world society, committed to being front runners in the fight for a more humane, sustainable planet by seeking to increase ambition among governments globally and the enactment of policies in office to safeguard the future of the planet for coming generations. For more than two decades this area of policy has been a priority for the Socialist International and has been developed in contact with members worldwide leading to a series of initiatives to mobilise and implement action when in government, and put our views forward when in opposition. Last year, in an appeal to increase multilateral cooperation on this crucial challenge for humankind, over a hundred leaders of the worldwide social democratic movement, including numerous Heads of State and government from all continents, issued a “global call for a sustainable world society – before it’s too late”.
Despite increasing recognition of the threat posed by anthropomorphic climate change, the commitments and actions taken to date are insufficient to reduce emissions to a level that would limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C, beyond which risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty will be significantly worsened for hundreds of millions of people. On 24 September 2019, the IPCC released a special report highlighting the urgency of timely, ambitious and coordinated action to protect the ocean and cryosphere, which play a critical role for life on Earth. This provides yet more evidence for the urgent need to limit global warming to the lowest possible level.
The outcome of the Climate Action Summit, held on the eve of the High-Level Segment of the UN General Assembly in New York, has highlighted the gap between the commitments made by governments to date and the action required to avert catastrophic climate change. As youth leaders have eloquently expressed, if the current generation of politicians chooses not to act, they will have stolen the future from those who will follow.
Though progress to date has not lived up to what is required, there are reasons to remain positive. There is huge popular momentum behind efforts on climate change as demonstrated by participation in movements and demonstrations in favour of climate action all over the world. Technological advances mean that tools are available to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, with solar and wind expected within five years to provide the cheapest sources of new energy across the entire world. Many countries have begun ambitious programmes to plant huge numbers of trees, which is not only the cheapest climate change solution but the one that has the most potential to remove carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.
Time is running out for governments of the world to implement the policy changes that will be required in the race to limit climate change and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The SI and its member parties are determined to play their part in ensuring that the race is won, for the sake of all of humanity.
The Palestinian question
The meeting welcomed the agreement reached by the SI in Ramallah and Tel Aviv on 30 and 31 July 2019 together with Israeli and Palestinian member parties on the two-state solution to the Palestinian question. This reiterated the commitment of the SI to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the long overdue realisation of a two-state solution, which is in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians and of regional and world peace.
Prospects for a just peace are currently under threat by proposals for the illegal annexation of large parts of the West Bank, which would end hope for a two-state solution. The international community must collectively meet its responsibility under international law to bring an end to the situation of the occupied Palestinian territories and remove all impediments to the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination, leading to a peaceful future for both Israel and Palestine.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Presidium shared the appeal of the UN Secretary General for maximum restraint on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and calls on the two neighbours to refrain from taking unilateral steps that could destabilise the fragile situation in Kashmir.
Dialogue and negotiation are the only way forward to successfully resolve such complex disputes that have religious and cultural dimensions. The SI wishes to see a peaceful resolution to the question of the final status of Jammu and Kashmir, in line with the UN Charter and its resolutions, and the Simla Agreement signed by India and Pakistan. The international community should be ready to assist the governments of Pakistan and India in working for a diplomatic solution to this dispute, in accordance with the fundamental principles of peaceful resolution of conflicts and the protection of human rights which are at the heart of all the work of the SI.
In relation to the situation in Venezuela, the meeting heard with concern of the continuation and progressive deterioration of the crisis that the country faces. The massive and systematic violations of human rights must immediately cease and be investigated and clarified, with those responsible brought to justice.
An urgent necessity in Venezuela is the reestablishment of democracy and free, fair and competitive elections to be held without delay. This requires a legitimate and independent electoral authority that fulfils all of its duties and guarantees the electoral process. Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be immediately released and not be prevented from participating in the public life of their country based on illegitimate trials and judicial decisions, which are evidently politically motivated.
The meeting recognised the importance of the commitment of the international community to the people of Venezuela and the recent efforts made by the Lima Group and the International Contact Group on Venezuela.