ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN CANADA, 26-27 JUNE 2002
The Secretary-General arrived in Calgary, Alberta, on Wednesday, 26 June, en route to the Group of Eight summit. At a brief airport ceremony upon arrival Wednesday, the Secretary-General received a traditional white (cowboy) hat.
In Calgary, the Secretary-General first held a bilateral meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki. He then met with the four African leaders participating in the G-8 summit. These were, in addition to Mbeki, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.
Mr. Annan then attended a reception hosted by the Canadian Minister of Health, the Hon. Anne McLellan, and a dinner hosted by the Governor-General, the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, outside the city.
Returning to his hotel after dinner, he met with journalists and said he was extremely happy that African leaders had been invited to discuss with the G-8 leaders how they might work together to improve the economic situation in Africa.
He said, "Once you create that enabling environment for investment to come in and open up trade, these governments will be able to trade and work themselves out of poverty rather than live on handouts. And that's what they would want."
Asked if this was a threshold for Africa, he replied, "I think, yes, potentially it is a threshold, if all sides hold to the bargain and the understanding and the commitments we are making here.”
On Thursday morning the Secretary-General travelled by road from Calgary to Kananaskis, where he participated in a working session with the G-8 and African leaders to discuss an Africa Action Plan released around midday.
The G-8 leaders met with the four African heads of State and the Secretary-General to discuss the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). NEPAD is a plan developed by African leaders whereby they pledge to improve governance on the continent in exchange for the G-8 helping with aid, trade and debt relief.
The Secretary-General, at the launch of the Africa Action Plan, said that, if Africans stick to their commitments made in NEPAD and if the G-8 carries out the action plan announced at the summit, "this summit might come to be seen as a turning point in the history of Africa, and indeed of the world. That is a challenge for all of us to live up to."
The Secretary-General said that the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which would open in the South African city of Johannesburg in August 2002, would serve as an indicator of global commitment to change.
“That summit will be held in South Africa, in the heart of a region acutely affected by poverty, by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and now also affected by a terrible drought, with a serious threat of famine in several countries in the region,” he said. “There is an urgent need to bring humanitarian relief to people in acute distress, and the United Nations and the donor community is doing its best to help provide the assistance.” See press release SG/SM/8291.
The Secretary-General departed Kananaskis for Calgary en route to New York after attending a working luncheon hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in honour of the heads of State and the Secretary-General attending the G-8 summit.
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