In late January-early February, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek travelled to Switzerland, Ethiopia, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
They arrived in Davos, Switzerland, from New York on Thursday morning, 26 January, where the Secretary-General met with a number of private-sector personalities at the World Economic Forum.
The Secretary-General met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of the so-called Elders — an independent group of global leaders initially brought together by Nelson Mandela to work for peace and human rights. This was followed by a luncheon with the Elders, where the Secretary-General spoke on “A Better World for Women and Girls”, noting that Every Woman, Every Child is uniting a vast array of partners who are improving the health of women and children, and bringing us closer to all the Millennium Development Goals. This is why campaigns such as Girls, Not Brides by the Elders are so important. He told participants that the private sector is uniquely positioned to deliver a better life for women and children around the world.
The Secretary-General met with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter; and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya. He also met that afternoon with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota and with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.
The Secretary-General also met with Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization.
That evening, he co-hosted a dinner with Bill Gates to mark the tenth anniversary of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and then attended a G-20 dinner hosted by President Felipe Calderon of Mexico.
On Friday, 27 January, the Secretary-General held a press conference, at which he said revolution has swept across North Africa and the Middle East, bringing new freedoms and democracy, but also new challenges.
Afterwards he spoke at a session on “Catalysing Transformational Partnerships between the United Nations and Business”, where he noted that partnerships are crucial to forging solutions in the twenty-first century, and that, across the United Nations, private-sector engagement is increasingly recognized as a strategic way to deliver profound change.
He also met with Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum; Peter Loescher, CEO of Siemens; Peter Voser, CEO of Shell; and Gordon Brown, Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Issues Group.
He then travelled to Zurich, where he met with Yukio Takasu, Special Adviser on Human Security, and attended a dinner hosted by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.