ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN
, 12 - 15 june 2004 brazil
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, accompanied by his wife, Nane, arrived in São Paulo from New York on Saturday morning, 12 June, for a four-day visit to open the eleventh session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, address a Special Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 and hold a number of bilateral meetings, including one with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
On Saturday afternoon, the Secretary-General addressed a Special Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 at the
named after the river that runs through Anhembi Conference Center . São Paulo
In those remarks, he said that “the sad truth is that the world today is a much more unequal place than it was 40 years ago” when the G-77 was founded and that “If these years have taught us anything, it is that opportunities for development need to be more equally distributed”.
He emphasized the need for international development cooperation to be based on a true partnership between the developed and developing world. “Both groups of countries have responsibilities, and both should be held accountable”, he said. “If once there was a tendency to play the ‘blame game’, I hope today we are moving toward an era of mutual understanding and cooperation.” (See Press Release SG/SM/9361.)
Before departing the Conference centre, the Secretary-General also held a half hour meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, during which they discussed
and areas of common concern in the Latin American region. The Secretary-General expressed his deep gratitude for Iraq ’s contribution toward their common efforts in Brazil . Haiti
In a separate programme, Nane Annan on Saturday visited a home for abandoned or orphaned children living with HIV/AIDS, where they receive health care, education, psychosocial support, as well as a safe, loving family environment.
On Sunday morning (13 June), the Secretary-General returned to the UNCTAD XI Conference centre where he addressed the Civil Society Forum chaired by Iara Pietricovsky of the Brazilian Network for People’s Integration.
The Secretary-General told the non-governmental organization representatives that he shared their concern about agricultural and other subsidies in the developed world that create unfair competition, and about how hard it is for developing-country goods to gain access to rich-country markets.
“Like you, I have called on governments to remember that poor countries need more and better aid”, he said. “And I, like you, am trying to defend cultural diversity, and calling for developing countries to have a bigger say in the economic and financial decisions that affect the lives of their people.”
He encouraged the efforts of civil society organizations in reaching the Millennium Development Goals, saying that what would really make a difference was if, at the local level, the goals achieved a critical mass of support and even became “vote-getters”.
“You can and must help make that happen”, he said. “If we do not, millions of people will die, prematurely and unnecessarily. That fact, and this conference, should be a call to action.”
He also said that later in June, he would release the report of the high-level panel, headed by the former Brazilian President Fernando Enrique Cardoso, on how the United Nations could get the most out of its expanding ties with civil society. (See Press Release SG/SM/9362.)
On Sunday afternoon, he met with the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Sergio Paez and IPU Secretary-General Anders Johnsson. He also met with UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero and other senior United Nations officials attending the conference.
On Sunday, Mrs. Annan spoke at an UNCTAD panel exploring the importance of creative industries –- such as music, publishing, photography, arts and crafts -– to development. Mrs. Annan highlighted the contribution of women’s small-scale economic activities, which often carry forward their cultural heritage, and noted the value of support in the form of microfinance services and access to global markets. Brazilian musician and Minister for Culture Gilberto Gil chaired the panel.
In the afternoon, she met a group of women from a shantytown or “favela” on the outskirts of
who had benefited from microcredit loans to start or expand small businesses such as dressmaking, woodworking and homemade sweets and cleaning products. The women told Mrs. Annan how a small loan of 100 to 500 Brazilian Real (US$30 to $170) had dramatically improved their lives. São Paulo
On Monday morning (14 June), the Secretary-General opened the eleventh United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
He said the world had what it takes to improve living standards for all people, but too often lacked coherence in its approach, as well as a development-friendly trading regime.
He called for a successful conclusion to the
negotiations, and urged nations to take advantage of the opportunities offered by South-South trade cooperation and integration. Doha
The Secretary-General also took the occasion to pay tribute to Sergio Vieira de Mello, saying that his death last year in
“was a tragedy for Iraq , for the United Nations and for the world.” (See Press Release SG/SM/9363.) Brazil
After opening the conference, the Secretary-General met with Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of the State of São Paulo.
He then had a meeting with the head of the Sudanese delegation to the conference, Finance Minister Hassam Ahmed Taha, during which the Secretary-General conveyed his concerns about the situation in
. Darfur, Sudan
During a more than 30-minute press conference, the Secretary-General answered questions on a wide range of topics ranging from the issues being discussed at UNCTAD XI to the future of
, as well as Iraq ’s role in the world today. Brazil
That afternoon, he met with President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of
, who had earlier that day hosted a luncheon for the heads of State and foreign ministers participating in the conference. Brazil
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General opened the UNCTAD/International Chamber of Commerce Investment Advisory Council for the Least Developed Countries. (See Press Release SG/SM/9365.)
In addition to the meeting with the President, he also had talks with European Commissioner for Trade, Pascal Lamy; Bolivian President Carlos D. Mesa Gisbertt; and
’s Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil. Brazil
In the evening, he visited the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan organization in the city centre, where he had a conversation with the former Brazilian President and his wife.
Following the opening of UNCTAD XI on Monday, Mrs. Annan held a discussion with women leaders active in politics and civil society on key issues concerning women in
, notably women’s participation, social inclusion and racial equality. The meeting took place at the offices of Geledés Institute, a leading non-governmental organization on black women’s empowerment. Brazil
On the last day of his visit, the Secretary-General visited an innovative educational project in a poor district on the outskirts of the sprawling city of some 15 million people.
There, he and Mrs. Annan toured the educational centre, which aims to bring education, culture, sports and art, to the entire community of nearly 200,000 in Campo Limpo, where a tenth of the people live in favelas. They were escorted by the Mayor of São Paulo, Marta Suplicy, who initiated the project -- one of 21 in the city aimed combating the cycle of poverty and social exclusion.
At one point during their tour of the facility, the Annans joined a group of children who were waving white paper cranes while singing a song of peace. They were presented with a scroll of hand prints, each with a message of peace written by the children.
“I have seen some centres but nothing like this”, the Secretary-General told reporters. “This is unique. And the whole concept is very creative.”
At the conference centre before the project visit, the Secretary-General met with Norwegian Minister of Trade and Development, Hilda Johnson.
He then attended and delivered opening remarks at the High-level Panel on Innovative Sources of Financing for Development, part of the ongoing UNCTAD Conference in
. (See Press Release SG/SM/9367.) São Paulo
On Tuesday afternoon (15 June), Mrs. Annan visited Vila Madalena, an innovative neighbourhood project combining education, culture, professional and leisure activities. Mrs. Annan walked around the neighbourhood where young people have taken an active role in beautification of walls and alleyways through art murals and mosaics. She met teenagers involved in a community radio project and others in an informal classroom discussing their problems and possible solutions. She visited Café Aprendiz, a meeting place and internet café which generates resources to revitalize and sustain an outdoor school and leisure centre in a once abandoned square.
The Secretary-General and his party arrived back in
on Wednesday, 16 June. New York
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