Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 25-28 January

7 February 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 25-28 January

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, in the morning of Tuesday, 25 January, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek.

The Secretary-General first travelled to Lausanne for a meeting with the International Olympic Committee, its President Jacques Rogge, as well as the heads of some international sports federations.

The Secretary-General then opened the 2011 Consolidated Appeal Resource Mobilization Conference with the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarians Affairs, Valerie Amos.  He said humanitarian needs were growing and that we all needed to make extra efforts to secure sufficient and predictable funding for urgent, life-saving humanitarian work.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13364)

He later addressed the Human Rights Council and called on its members to do more to fully rise above national and regional interests.  He said that we cannot and should not limit the independence of human rights rapporteurs.  “We cannot condone irresponsible behaviour that undermines the Human Rights Council and the United Nations,” he said.  “We cannot be selective in promoting human rights.  Put simply,” he continued, “our watchword should be ‘all people, all countries, all rights’.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/13366)

That night, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Mrs. Nane Annan.

The next day, the Secretary-General spoke to the press before the start of the first meeting of the Accountability Commission for Women’s and Children’s Health, co‑chaired by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania.  He said accountability was a hallmark of the Global Strategy on Children’s and Women’s Health, launched in September 2010.  “Our aim is simple: to turn our Global Strategy into global action for women and children’s health,” he added.

The Secretary-General then met with the Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias.  Later, he told the press that there has been progress since the last meeting he had with the leaders in November.  Based on their discussions that day, he said, it is clear that the two leaders worked to move closer together through a range of bridging proposals.  Nonetheless, he said, more work must be done on the outstanding core issues.  The Secretary-General said the two sides have also agreed to intensify the negotiations through a series of additional meetings in the coming weeks.  He pledged to make himself available to them again soon.

Later that day, the Secretary-General addressed the Conference on Disarmament, telling its members that their continued deadlock has ominous implications for international security.  He said members must not let one lost decade for the Conference turn into another.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13367)

The Secretary-General also had a bilateral meeting with President Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania.  The Secretary-General welcomed the first meeting, earlier that day in Geneva, of the Accountability Commission for Women’s and Children’s Health.  The Secretary-General and President Kikwete stressed the importance of accountability, especially at the national level, to monitor commitments made by countries and all other stakeholders.

They also discussed the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and the forthcoming African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The Secretary-General thanked President Kikwete for his strong support for the role and work done by the United Nations in Côte d’Ivoire.  They reaffirmed their support for the position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  They agreed to work together with other African leaders at the forthcoming African Union Summit for a prompt and peaceful resolution of the current stalemate in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Secretary-General then visited the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), before attending a dinner hosted by Sihasak Phuangketkeow, President of the Human Rights Council.

The Secretary-General left Geneva for Davos in the morning of 27 January.

He first met with the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and said he looked forward to the Chernobyl and nuclear energy conference to be organized by Ukraine in April 2011, as part of the twenty-fifth commemoration of the Chernobyl disaster.  They talked about ways to increase nuclear safety, including the management of waste and the rehabilitation of agricultural land.  The Secretary-General and Mr. Yanukovych also discussed issues relating to food security as well as Ukraine’s support and contribution to United Nations peacekeeping.

He then met with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, with whom he discussed a wide range of issues.

The Secretary-General also met that day with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey.  He welcomed Switzerland’s contribution to the work of the United Nations, as well as the priority given by the Government of Switzerland to preventive diplomacy and mediation.  They also exchanged views on Cyprus, the Conference on Disarmament and the Human Rights Council, following the Secretary-General’s activities in Geneva in the two previous days.  They discussed in detail the next steps concerning the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability and the need to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by Rio 2012.


Later, the Secretary-General spoke with the Quartet Representative to the Middle East, Tony Blair, and discussed with him the state of play of the Middle East peace process and the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The Secretary-General stressed the importance of continuing efforts to ease suffering in Gaza and help the Palestinian Authority build capacity in the West Bank, and thanked Mr. Blair for his role.  They reaffirmed their commitment to work hard with other partners towards the forthcoming Quartet meeting in Munich on 5 February.

In the afternoon, after meeting with Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, the Secretary-General spoke at a plenary session on combating chronic disease.  He said: “We cannot allow chronic diseases to even further amplify the health challenges faced by developing countries, especially when we know the solutions.”  He added that the General Assembly would hold a high-level meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in September in New York.  “Success requires public-private partnerships, it requires political vision and resource mobilization across sectors, across ministries and across borders,” he stressed.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13371)

The Secretary-General later had a meeting with President Tarja Halonen of Finland and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Co-Chairs of the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability.

That night, the Secretary-General attended a dinner on the theme “Nourishing People”, hosted by Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

On Friday, 28 January, the Secretary-General dropped by a World Economic Forum private session on “Leveraging Public-Private Investment to Achieve a New Vision for Agriculture”, as well as by a breakfast on “Rethinking International Cooperation: Development and Human Security”.

He then participated in a World Economic Forum plenary session on “Redefining Sustainable Development” and said that revolutionary thinking and revolutionary action were needed.  He added: “It is easy to mouth the words ‘sustainable development’, but to make it happen we have to be prepared to make major changes — in our lifestyles, our economic models, our social organization, and our political life.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/13372)

Speaking later at a press conference, the Secretary-General discussed the efforts to foster progress on climate change and sustainable development.  On Egypt, he said all concerned people and leaders should ensure that the situation does not lead to further violence.  He emphasized that freedom of expression and association should be fully respected.  On Côte d’Ivoire, he urged Laurent Gbagbo and his camp to fully respect the will of the Ivorian people, which has been expressed through the elections.

After meeting with some of the Millennium Development Goals Advocates, the Secretary-General spoke at the launch of the Global Compact LEAD initiative, saying it could help guide the way to the level of sustainability performance our world requires from business today.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13373)

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General met with Bill Gates, Chairperson of the Microsoft Corporation, and participated in the World Economic Forum’s informal gathering of world economic leaders.

The Secretary-General left Davos for Zurich in the afternoon of Friday, 28 January, on his way to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For information media. Not an official record.