United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived from Beirut early in the evening of Friday, 16 November, in Valencia, Spain.
He and his delegation were met at the airport by representatives of the Spanish Foreign Ministry and local authorities, including the mayors of the localities where the airport is situated.
There was no programme for the remainder of the evening.
On Saturday morning, following a working breakfast with his senior advisers, the Secretary-General arrived at Valencia’s Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe, the site of the meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Upon arrival at the museum, the Secretary-General was greeted by Francisco Camps, President of the Autonomous Government of Valencia, and Rita Barber, Mayor of the city of Valencia. They immediately met for a brief courtesy call, during which the Secretary-General thanked them for the support local authorities had been providing the Panel’s meeting.
Before addressing the Panel, the Secretary-General and his senior advisers had an opportunity to be fully briefed by Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel, on the work of the conference so far.
The Secretary-General then addressed the plenary meeting of the Panel. He was joined on the dais by Mr. Pachauri, Renate Christ, Secretary of the Panel, Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. (See Press Release SG/SM/11283)
He saluted the delegates for their hard work in drafting the Panel’s fourth synthesis report, which the Secretary-General called a “landmark” achievement. He went on to add that the particular strength of this report, which synthesizes information found in the first three volumes, is that it provides policy makers with an “easy to use” guide on how to combat and mitigate Climate Change.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General made it clear that the scientists had done their work and that is was now up to politicians to do theirs. “Our sights are now set on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali next month,” he stated. “It is the opportunity to provide political answers to these scientific findings.”
Immediately following his speech, the Secretary-General, accompanied by Messrs. Pachauri, Steiner and Jarraud, held a press conference. The Secretary-General again stressed to the media that a breakthrough was needed at the talks in Bali. There, he said, Member States needed had needed to reach “an agreement to launch negotiations for a comprehensive climate change deal that all nations can embrace -- developed and developing [countries] alike.”
In answer to questions about the Panel’s report, the Secretary-General said it was not a political report but a scientific one. At the same time, he added, “I would hope that scientists will continue to develop their research and findings and assessments as time goes by.”
Asked what he expected of Chinese and United States representatives at the Bali talks, the Secretary-General said: “I have high expectations of all countries, especially those that are in a position to lead in this very important process.”
Now that scientists had completed a phase of their work, the Secretary-General called on political leaders to do their part and agree on a climate change deal that all nations could embrace – developed and developing alike. He called on them to not only agree to launch negotiations in Bali, but also to conclude them by 2009.
Immediately after the Panel event, the Secretary-General met with Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, for about 20 minutes, to discuss issues of mutual interest to Spain and the United Nations. The meeting took place at the National Government office in Valencia. Following the bilateral discussions, the Secretary-General and his party were given an official presentation by the Deputy Prime Minister of the new United Nations logistics base, which is scheduled to be built just outside of Valencia.
In remarks to the gathered dignitaries, which included, in addition to the Deputy Prime Minister, representatives of local authorities and the Spanish Defence and Foreign Affairs ministries, the Secretary-General welcomed the successful conclusion of negotiations on the text of the agreement on the use of the premises. He added that such a logistics facility would provide critical information and technology infrastructure, complementing the existing United Nations base at Brindisi in Italy, to enable United Nations operations to function efficiently and safely around the world. (See Press Release SG/SM/11284)
Prior to his departure from Valencia, the Deputy Prime Minister hosted a lunch at the airport for the Secretary-General and his delegation. She also took the Secretary-General to see the actual site of the future logistics base, which will be adjacent to the civilian airport. The Secretary-General and the Deputy Prime Minister then unveiled a plaque to mark his visit to the site.
The Secretary-General and his delegation then left Valencia for Madrid and then on to New York, where they arrived late in the evening.