Ban arrives in Mexico for talks with President and disarmament conference

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and President Felipe Calderón of Mexico (file)

8 September 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is slated to meet Mexican President Felipe Calderón this afternoon in the North American country’s capital, where climate change, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and human rights will be among the subjects for discussion.

The gathering of the two leaders comes ahead of the annual General Assembly debate, starting on 23 September, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and Mr. Ban is also expected to meet this evening with the Ministers of Health, Social Development, Environment and Education.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to open the annual UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Conference, which this year focuses on disarmament.

Over 1,700 representatives from NGOs and experts from 70 countries are expected at the three-day gathering in Mexico City, whose theme is “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!”

Amid renewed international initiatives promoting disarmament and non-proliferation, Kiyotaka Akasaka, UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, underscored the timeliness of the conference.

“As you know, President [Barack] Obama of the United States will preside over a summit-level meeting of the Security Council on 24 September on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” Mr. Akasaka told reporters in New York on Friday at a briefing to publicize the DPI-NGO conference.

Mr. Akasaka noted that global military spending amounted to $1.5 trillion, representing more than $200 for each person alive today. “This is untenable at a time when 1 billion people struggle to live on $1 or less a day.”

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