Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Madrid, Spain, on Friday, 16 July, in the morning, to attend the first meeting of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group, which he had recently launched.
The Secretary-General first met President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, one of the co-Chairs of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group. They discussed the Millennium Development Goals and Rwanda's achievements towards the Goals, especially on Goals 2 (education) and 3 (gender equality). The Secretary-General also underlined his expectations concerning the work of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group and its first meeting that day in Madrid. The Secretary-General also noted the upcoming elections in Rwanda and expressed concern about recent incidents causing political tensions. He stressed the need for upholding human rights. The Secretary-General encouraged the Rwandan authorities to take immediate action, including a thorough investigation into the latest incidents, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Secretary-General then met with Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and later with Graca Machel of South Africa, two advocates that make up the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group.
After an audience with the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, at the Zarzuela Palace, the Secretary-General met with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the other co-Chair of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group, at the Palacio de la Moncloa. The Secretary-General underlined his expectations concerning the outcome of the first meeting of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group, as well as the modalities relating to the future work of the Group for a successful Millennium Development Goals Summit in September and beyond. The Secretary-General also expressed appreciation for Spain's contribution towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to United Nations activities in general. He welcomed Prime Minister Zapatero's strong commitment to promoting the Goals. They also discussed the situations in the Middle East, Kosovo, Western Sahara, and Cyprus, as well as the Alliance of Civilizations.
Later, the Secretary-General attended the first meeting of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group. Opening the meeting, he told the advocates gathered in Madrid: “when it comes to fighting poverty and expanding opportunity, you are global superheroes”. He said the Group would identify strategic opportunities, help build awareness and translate the rhetoric of good intentions into results. He added that at a time of economic uncertainty and fiscal austerity, the advocates could help send the message that the Millennium Development Goals go beyond development. “Every person counts. Every initiative moves us closer. Every one of you can and will make a difference,” he said. (See Press Release SG/SM/13013)
That evening the Secretary-General attended a reception hosted by the Global Compact Network in Spain. He left Madrid for Geneva on Sunday, 18 July.