17 July 2012 On arriving in Beijing today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated in a social media conversation with young people through the United Nations Sina Weibo blogging site on a range of issues such as peacekeeping, youth unemployment and sustainable development.
“Hello everyone, I am Ban Ki-moon,” the Secretary-General said in Chinese, as he kicked off a 45-minute conversation that attracted some 20 million Internet users.
He answered about 20 of the more than 16,000 questions submitted by Weibo users, relating to the UN and himself, the recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), China-Africa cooperation and the role of social media.
In response to Wang Saisai’s question about the impact of social media on the UN, Mr. Ban said that “this is the best way to reach out and to be connected with the world,” adding that it is the quickest way to disseminate the valuable information that the UN can provide.
“I sincerely hope that world leaders use this social media more often than I am doing. These ideas and energies should be fully mobilized and utilized, and that is the basic purpose of using this social media,” he stated.
He also told one user that last month’s Rio+20 conference, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was “a great success that put all of us towards a greater sustainability path.” Mr. Ban said that with the strong support of the Chinese Government, Rio+20 had reached consensus to establish sustainable development goals, strengthen the institutional framework and work out implementation plans.
Since the UN opened an account on Sina Weibo, it has attracted more than two million followers.
The Secretary-General continues his visit to China tomorrow, when he will meet the country’s leadership. He will also take part in an event to recognize the contribution Chinese people have made to the “Future We Want” campaign for sustainable development.
On Thursday, Mr. Ban will take part in a major conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and will then travel on to South-eastern Europe.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue