United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Toronto, Canada, on the afternoon of Saturday, 26 June, to attend the weekend summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) leaders, and to hold bilateral meetings with many of the leaders attending the summit. The Secretary-General indicated earlier in the week that he would bring the concerns of the developing world and a message of human development with him to the Summit and that he would call on leaders to strengthen their political will and partnerships.
The Secretary-General’s first official engagement was a meeting on Saturday afternoon with Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The Secretary-General thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership co-chairing the Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. In addition to climate change, the two men discussed the forthcoming G-20 summit, the Millennium Development Goals and food security.
The Secretary-General later met with Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea. They discussed the G-20 summit, climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, development aid, employment, women’s and children’s health, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the United Nations Global Compact, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
The Secretary-General also attended an official welcome reception, working dinner and cultural programme with the G-20 leaders, hosted by Stephen Harper and Laureen Harper, the Prime Minister and First Lady of Canada.
At the dinner, the Secretary-General said he understood concerns about rising budget deficits and public debt, and that the severe fiscal problems faced by some countries required urgent action. But he said: “Let me emphasize this evening that, under any circumstances we must not balance budgets on the backs of the world’s poorest people.”
On Sunday morning, the Secretary-General had a meeting with Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission. The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of making progress on the Millennium Development Goals and was encouraged by the commitment of support for the Goals, including the role of overseas development aid. They discussed the fight against climate change as well as Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Gaza.
The Secretary-General then attended the morning session with the G-20 leaders. Following the morning session with the G-20 leaders, the Secretary-General met with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain. The Secretary-General thanked the Prime Minister for agreeing to co-chair the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group. They discussed the Millennium Development Goals, including the importance of women’s and children’s health, and the Millennium Development Goals summit. The leaders also discussed efforts to fight climate change.
At the official G-20 lunch, the Secretary-General spoke of the importance of tackling climate change. He then attended the afternoon session with the G-20 leaders, which was focused on trade and regulatory reform.
The Secretary-General and Madam Ban left Toronto early on the evening of Sunday, 27 June, arriving in New York later that evening.