United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Doha, Qatar, in the evening of Thursday, 27 November, to attend the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.
On Friday evening, the Secretary-General chaired a high-level informal discussion on the implications of the financial crisis for development, climate change and multilateralism.
The closed discussion on the eve of the Conference on Financing for Development was attended by about 30 delegations, including 10 Heads of State, Government and international agencies. The participants discussed the need for a globally coordinated response to the financial crisis. The Secretary-General stressed that such a coordinated response involving developing countries as well as the Group of 20 (G-20) can protect developing countries, underpin our drive to a green economy and stimulate a commitment to a renewed multilateralism. (See Press Release SG/2711.)
He later held a press conference, in which he said that the financial crisis is not the only crisis we face. We also confront a development emergency and accelerating climate change. They must be dealt with as one. We cannot retreat from the Millennium Development Goals. We should use the present crisis as an opportunity to promote development that is sustainable, and the fight against climate change.
The Secretary-General held separate meetings that day with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani; with Djibril Bassolé, the United Nations-African Union Chief Mediator for Darfur; with Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
On Saturday, the Secretary-General opened the Conference on Financing for Development in Doha, Qatar. He began by reaffirming international solidarity with the Government and people of India, as they mourned the victims of the outrageous terrorist acts in Mumbai.
He told the leaders gathered for the Conference that, without exaggeration, we can say that the well-being of our people and the health of our societies -- even the future of our planet -- depend on what we do in the weeks to come. To promote needed coordination, he said, we need to build a bridge between the G-20 and the rest of the world -- the entire community of nations. (Press Release SG/SM/11961)
That day, in a statement issued by his Spokesperson, the Secretary-General condemned the rocket attack in Baghdad which killed and injured catering staff working for the United Nations. (Press Release SG/SM/11960)
On Saturday, the Secretary-General held separate meetings with the President of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno; with President François Bozizé of the Central African Republic; with President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan; with President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria; with President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania; and with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Han Seung-soo.
He also addressed various side events that day: on the “Economics of Gender”, hosted by Norway and the United Nations regional commissions; on Inclusive Financial Sectors; on the Global Sport Fund at the Qatar Olympic Committee; on “Innovative financing to serve development: from Monterrey to Doha”, co-hosted by Philippe Douste-Blazy, United Nations Special Adviser on the subject, the Government of France and non-governmental organizations; and he also spoke at an event entitled “Reinvigorating multilateralism”, hosted by Kemal Derviş, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (Press Releases SG/SM/11962, SG/SM/11963, SG/SM/11964, SG/SM/11965 and SG/SM/11966, respectively.)
On Sunday, the Secretary-General spoke at several side events held in Doha. He told a high-level event on food hosted by the Rome-based United Nations organizations (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP)) that volatile food prices are a cause of suffering, but they are also a symptom that the global food system is in crisis. He urged funding for food assistance, cash transfers and safety nets. (Press Release SG/SM/11969)
Speaking at a side event on education, organized jointly by the First Lady of Qatar and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Secretary-General stressed that the Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without education. (Press Release SG/SM/11968)
On Sunday, Mr. Ban held a number of meetings in Doha on financial and regional issues. On issues of conflicts in Africa, he met jointly with President Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania, Chair of the African Union; Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission; and Mr. Bassolé. He also held bilateral discussions with President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya; President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; and with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of Lebanon and members of his Cabinet. Speaking to the press later, Mr. Ban announced that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon “is fully on track to commence functioning on 1 March 2009”.
He also met that day with Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); and with Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO.
On Sunday he also visited the Al Jazeera Children’s Network TV where he held an interactive session with school children from different parts of the world (Press Release SG/SM/11967), and he toured the Museum of Islamic Art.
On Monday, 1 December, to mark World AIDS Day, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Michel Sidibé of Mali as the next Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, known as UNAIDS. Mr. Sidibé would take up his new position on 1 January 2009. The Secretary-General said that AIDS continues to be one of the most devastating epidemics in history. He added that, as we commemorate this year the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is indeed shocking that people living with HIV are still denied entry, stay and residence rights in certain countries. The Secretary-General said he will work hard to eliminate such travel bans with the concerned national leaders. (Press Release SG/SM/11970)
The Secretary-General also met on Monday with Henrietta Fore, Director of USAID, and with Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He departed that afternoon for New York, where he arrived on Monday evening.