20 November 2008
Secretary-General
SG/T/2634

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SWITZERLAND, 17-19 NOVEMBER


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Geneva on Monday morning, 17 November.


He met with High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Navi Pillay, and the regional heads of OHCHR field presences, at the Palais des Nations.


That afternoon, he travelled to Montreux to participate in an annual seminar with his Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys.


On Tuesday, Mr. Ban met with Francis Gurry, the newly appointed Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), at WIPO headquarters, following which he held a town hall meeting with WIPO staff.


Later on Tuesday morning, Mr. Ban participated in the inauguration of the new Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, formerly known as Room XX, at the Palais des Nations, along with the King of Spain, Juan Carlos II, and his wife, Queen Sofia, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Prime Minister of Turkey.  (See Press Release SG/SM/11933) Room XX had been completely renovated at the expense of the Spanish Government through a private-public partnership with ONUART, and contains a ceiling sculpture by acclaimed Spanish artist Miguel Barceló.


The Secretary-General had a private audience with King Juan Carlos II and Queen Sofia, before attending a luncheon hosted by the King and Queen.  He also met that day with Prime Minister Zapatero, and with Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Conference on Financing for Development.


On Wednesday morning, the Secretary-General addressed the 303rd session of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO).  “With its diverse membership and global reach,” he said, ILO “is promoting the decent work that is essential if people are to weather the bad times we now face.  The ILO’s Decent work Agenda really touches the core of people’s lives and aspirations.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/11938)


“In your day-to-day work, you bring together employers, workers and Government ministries to hammer out consensus and solve problems,” he said.  “We are going to need this kind of partnership, and this kind of practical approach, to get through this difficult time.”


“I am convinced that the ILO has a major role to play,” he said.


The Secretary-General arrived back in New York on Wednesday


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For information media • not an official record