Transcript of the Secretary-General’s press conference at the airport in Zambia
Livingstone, Zambia, 26 February 2012
Secretary-General: Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to see you as I complete my visit, this very historic, very successful visit to Zambia.
This has been very historic visit not because this was a first visit by a Secretary-General of the United Nations to Zambia but because I have seen and experienced myself real potential. Before I came here, I had sort of a theoretical knowledge of Zambia’s potential. Now I am returning to the UN with practical and convincing knowledge of the future of Zambia.
This country, Zambia, in terms of great political and democratic principles, they have shown a clear path, a good example, of how this democratic principle should be. The peaceful transfer through a very credible, transparent election last year has sent a clear message, a strong message not only to African countries but to the whole world. I am deeply grateful and admire President Sata’s vision and his overall strong commitment to democratic principles.
My address to the Parliament, this was also a big [moment] and I was very much encouraged by the way the Parliament was headed together with the Government and also setting the agenda toward the right direction.
Another inspiring experience for me was that I have seen the potential of youth here. You have many promising, bright young people; human resources.
Yesterday I visited the Fountain of Hope and also I visited very big Youth Development Centre. Today in Livingstone, I had very impressive and inspiring meeting with young girl students and boy students.
I was very much impressed by the way they are committed, how much they know about democratic principles and particularly human rights. On that basis, from their question and points of view I was convinced that this country has a brighter future, not only because you are having a lot of mineral and natural resources, but you have also very good human resources in my observation.
And I am very much pleased to see the potential of partnership between the United Nations and Zambia and I will be working even harder to promote many goals of African countries to promote further beyond this MDG 2015 for sustainable development for humanity, addressing climate change, food crisis, water scarcity, energy shortages and gender empowerment and all global issues. These are the issues or global challenges which we have to work on together. And I am convinced that the United Nations will continue to work very closely with the Zambian Government and people.
Thank you very much for such a strong commitment and generous hospitality. Wherever I went, I was warmly welcomed by the people and I really appreciate that.
Thank you very much and I wish all the best to the Zambian Government and people. Thank you very much.
Question: [From The Zambian Daily Mail] My question is on the World Tourism Organization General Assembly. It will be held next year in Livingstone here, in Victoria Falls’ town. I would like to get your impressions on the two countries co-hosting the event, and what they should do to improve ahead of the event.
SG: I know tourism is most important priority policy of your government only after agriculture. The revenue that you generated from this tourism accounts for almost six per cent of GDP. This is quite significant. You have such tremendous resources and huge resources of tourism, it is just beyond description how I can explain to you such an awesome and significant and fantastic and magnificent experience I had while visiting these Victoria Falls. I know that this is one of the seven natural wonders in the world. I fully agree to that. This can really give such great source of tourism capacity, including increasing tourism industries.
The World [Tourism] Organization General Assembly meeting which will be co-hosted by WTO and Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe will be a very significant occasion for the tourism, global tourism, as well as Government of Zambia’s promotion of tourism to the world and I will continue to work very closely to help this WTO general conference to be a great success next year.
Q: [Times of Zambia] You have said that UN members should respect gay rights. In Africa, most countries have serious concerns on that, depending on the culture and Christian norms, like in Zambia, a Christian nation, might have difficulty respecting the rights. What is your comment?
A: I have repeatedly spoken out against any policies which criminalize, which discriminate, against people with different sexual orientation. In that regard, I highly commend this Parliament of Zambia to have enacted such a very proper legislation to promote and protect the human rights of all people.
All human beings are born with equal rights, equal dignity, and this human rights should be protected, regardless of difference of race, ethnicity, sex, age, wherever and whenever. This is a fundamental principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I again urge to all countries wherever this discrimination policies are practiced against gay people should repeal such kind of practice and laws and ensure that their human rights are properly protected as a human being.
Q: I would like to find out from the SG why Western countries are tying the aid to homosexuality rights. I would also like to find out what he feels for Africa and what he is going to do for Africa in his second term.
SG: First of all, first question. It is not tying any official assistance to any country with HIV/AIDS. That is not the policy of Western countries versus African or developing countries. What I understand is that they are seriously concerned about the spread of this HIV/AIDS, and they really want to see an elimination of death caused by HIV/AIDS.
The United Nations, through its Millennium Development Goals, focuses on reducing and eliminating the death caused by HIV/AIDS and I hope that there should be no such misunderstandings on this aid policies.
There was a very important [meeting] on aid effectiveness in Busan last November. The question is that, the main purpose is that there should be some predictability of aid on the part of the developing world so that they can use properly and wisely these aid.
At the same time, there is naturally expectation from donor countries that this aid should be used properly, to the purpose of aid. All this money should be used properly to the purpose, through good governance without corruption, and by having proper and correct policies on the part of developing world. I think this is an accountability process, mutual accountability process, between the donors and recipient countries.
And as I have just [been] given my second term as Secretary-General I have laid out my five generational imperatives and priorities for coming five years.
One is sustainable development, addressing all these climate change issues, food crisis, energy shortages and gender empowerment and global health, including HIV/AIDS and malaria. All these are very important issues which we have to address.
We are now going to address all of these issues in comprehensive and integrated manner. This is my vision.
Second of all is prevention, prevention of [loss of] human lives and our resources from natural disasters and also manmade conflicts.
Third is full deployment of peacekeeping operations we really [need to be] sure that this world is peaceful and human rights are protected.
And fourthly, we will focus and have to help those countries in transition. We have seen dramatic changes last year in Middle East and North Africa. Peoples are now speaking out to have better condition where their human rights and human dignity are properly protected.
Youth and women and girls: they are speaking out. We have seen many women and young girls and youth who came to the streets yearning for their aspirations for human dignity. This is very important. We have to help those countries who have experienced revolutions last year.
Fifth but not least, working for empowerment of women and youth. Of course this is all related. You have seen so many youth who are not given equal opportunities. This is not equitable society. We have to reduce, to bridge the gaps between their rightful places as human beings and as future leaders and we have to do more for gender empowerment.
That is one of the issues that I have discussed with President Sata very seriously and I am assured that President Sata and Foreign Minister Lubinda are committed to work together with the United Nations to achieve those five goals.
Thank you very much.