Activities of Secretary-General in Japan, 31 May-3 June

4 June 2013

Activities of Secretary-General in Japan, 31 May-3 June

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Japan on the evening of Friday, 31 May, having left New York the previous afternoon.

On Saturday morning, 1 June, the Secretary-General began the day by conferring with his senior advisers, including heads of agencies of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN-Women.

The Secretary-General then gave the keynote speech at the opening session  of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V).  The session also commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the Conference and the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of African Unity/African Union.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted that Africa has made great progress on the Millennium Development Goals, but said that millions of Africans still lack jobs, health care and food and too many suffer in conflicts.  “To find lasting solutions, we must address the links between peace, security and development,” he said.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15067.)

On the margins of the Conference on Saturday, the Secretary-General met with Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank; Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire; Dioncounda Traoré, Interim President of Mali; Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister of Japan; Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, President of Tunisia; Hesham Mohamed Qandil, Prime Minister of Egypt; Idriss Deby Itno, President of Chad; Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union; and Boni Yayi, President of Benin.

The Secretary-General and Madam Ban ended the day by attending the ceremony for the Second Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Award, which recognizes those who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of medical research and services to combat infectious and other diseases in Africa.

The first appointment of the day for the Secretary-General on Sunday, 2 June, was a meeting with Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.

The Secretary-General chaired a Tokyo International Conference on African Development session on the theme “Towards the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.  In his opening remarks, he said that the process of creating a framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals offers a chance to transform our approach to international development.

“Our goal is to expand on the strengths of the Millennium Development Goals and empower people while protecting our planet,” he told the meeting’s participants, who included several Heads of State.  “Sustainable development lies at the heart of this universal agenda.  We are aiming to create a more just world where all people live in dignity.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/15069.)

The Secretary-General then spoke at a session chaired by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on the theme “Private Sector, Trade and Investment as Engines of Development”.

The Secretary-General noted in his remarks that the African continent as a whole is still marginalized in the global economy and that its share in global foreign direct investment flows is just 3.5 per cent.  “Better integrating Africa into the global economy on more favourable terms can help diversify the continent’s economies and make them more resilient,” he said, stressing the importance of both responsible foreign investment and the adoption of proactive policies by African countries.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15070.)

Following an interview with the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, he met with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia.

The Secretary-General spoke at a high-level luncheon hosted by the World Bank, UNDP and the Government of Japan and chaired by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia.  The Secretary-General told participants at the event that climate change has long been a priority for him, adding that this is pushing countries to honour their promise to conclude a universal, legally binding global climate agreement by 2015.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15071.)

Immediately following the luncheon, the Secretary-General attended a Tokyo International Conference on African Development plenary session on the theme “Peace and Stability”.  In his remarks, he said that across Africa, sustained peace and good governance have brought economic growth and prosperity.  While there are fewer conflicts today in Africa than in the past, he pointed out that new threats ‑ such as transnational crime, piracy, terrorism and radicalization ‑ are on the rise.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15072.)

The Secretary-General then held meetings with Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania; Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan; Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius; Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of Botswana; and Akihiko Tanaka, head of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Speaking at a high-level event on malaria and development, hosted by the Roll Back Malaria partnership and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Secretary-General said that malaria robs families of their children, devastates communities and takes a toll on national economies.  He said that the disease is one of the most cost-effective health investments of our time, adding that “spending just $1 on responding to malaria in Africa can generate a return of approximately $40 in gross domestic product.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/15073.)

That night, the Secretary-General and Madam Ban attended the official banquet for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, hosted by Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

The Secretary-General and Madam Ban departed Japan on the morning of Monday, 3 June.

For information media. Not an official record.