United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Port-of-Spain from New York on Friday evening, 17 April, to attend the Fifth Summit of the Americas, held this year in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago.
On Saturday, he participated in the plenary meetings of the Summit and addressed the issue of environmental sustainability during a working lunch for the Heads of State and Government present at the Summit of the Americas. In his speech, entitled “A Prosperity Agenda”, he said that today’s economic crisis, if not handled properly, could evolve into a full-scale political crisis ‑‑ defined by social unrest, weakened Governments and angry publics who have lost faith in their leaders and their future. On the climate change issue, he referred to the impact of such changes on the Americas, from the shrinking glaciers in the Andes, to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and the rising sea levels endangering the small islands of the Caribbean. He also stressed the need to protect populations, including indigenous peoples, and to create financial incentives to preserve forests and the livelihoods of those who depend on them. By tackling climate change, he said, we also deal with the economic crisis ‑‑ green jobs for green growth. (See Press Release SG/SM/12191.)
Bilateral meetings held that day were with Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago; Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of Chile; andFelipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico. With Prime Minister Manning, host of the Summit, the Secretary-General discussed climate change and its impact on small island States, the empowerment of women, alternative sources of energy, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Haiti. In the meeting with the President of Chile, the Secretary-General, as he did with all the Heads of State he met that day, invited President Bachelet to participate in a high-level event on climate change to be held in September at United Nations Headquarters in New York. They also discussed the progress achieved in Chile in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as Chile’s participation in MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. The meeting with President Calderón also focused on climate change issues, in particular Mexico’s proposal for a “World Climate Change Fund”, a multilateral mechanism to scale up funding for mitigation and adaptation actions; and for transfer and diffusion of clean technologies.
Mr. Ban also held a meeting with heads and staff of all United Nations agencies and offices operating in Trinidad and Tobago.
He returned to New York on Saturday evening, 18 April.