United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, travelled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to join world leaders at the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit hosted by United States President Barack Obama. The Secretary-General arrived in Pittsburgh by commercial flight from New York in the late afternoon of Thursday, 24 September.
Upon arrival, he immediately travelled to a dinner for the G-20 leaders hosted by President Obama at the Phipps Conservatory in east Pittsburgh. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark, in her capacity as sherpa for the United Nations at the G-20 Summit, attended a separate dinner at the same location. Madam Ban participated in yet a third dinner for spouses of the leaders, hosted by Mrs. Obama at the residence of Theresa Heinz.
During the dinner, according to a subsequent readout provided by the Secretary-General, the leaders discussed the future of the G-20, and how to implement the transition from an ad hoc forum to one that is more institutionalized. They also discussed ways to implement changes in the international financial institutions to provide greater developing-country representation. There was also a consensus that, despite encouraging signs of economic recovery, there was no room for complacency yet with regard to moving from crisis to recovery.
On Friday morning, the Secretary-General, joined by Administrator Clark, attended the morning plenary session of the G-20 Summit, followed by a group photo of the leaders, then a subsequent leaders’ lunch, during which the Secretary-General provided his remarks. (See Press Release SG/SM/12491)
The Secretary-General noted that for the G-20 to become an effective and credible forum for international economic cooperation, members would need to address the fact that “more than one third of the world’s population, and more than 85 per cent of the world’s countries are not represented here”. He urged participants to consider how that important issue might be addressed.
He urged the G-20 to offer steadfast support for success of the Millennium Development Goals, “including support for a global plan at next year’s Millennium Development Goals Summit”. And he urged members to work closely with existing multilateral institutions with legislative and implementation capacity.
“In this regard”, he said, “the United Nations has a central role to play. I hope you see the United Nations as a key partner that can participate fully at all stages of your deliberations.”
In order to fulfil his responsibilities at the opening of the sixty-fourth General Assembly’s general debate, the Secretary-General departed the G-20 Summit immediately after lunch to return to New York. Administrator Clark assumed the United Nations chair for the afternoon plenary session of the Summit, which concluded late on Friday afternoon with a press conference held by President Obama.