Activities of Secretary-General in Kenya, 30 March - 3 April

5 April 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Kenya, 30 March - 3 April

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Nairobi in the evening of Thursday, 30 March, from London.

The following morning, the Secretary-General launched his report on HIV/AIDS ahead of the high-level meeting on the topic at the General Assembly in June.

He said that, 30 years ago, AIDS had been a death sentence; but today, people are living, striving and thriving with HIV.  He said we still battle discrimination, but people with HIV now find more acceptance than before.  The Secretary-General said it was now time to take a hard look at where we have succeeded and where we have failed, and why.  That, he said, is why June’s meeting would be so important.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13487)

The Secretary-General later met President Mwai Kibaki and then Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Later, the Secretary-General and President Kibaki officially opened the new energy-efficient office complex at the United Nations compound in Gigiri in Nairobi.  The Secretary-General said the building was comfortable, efficient and a model of a sustainable future that could be replicated elsewhere.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13489)  He also had a press conference after that event.

That day, the Secretary-General also had a range of meetings with senior United Nations officials based in Nairobi or visiting for the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) meeting.  Those meetings included ones with Augustine Mahiga, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia; Achim Steiner, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Sahle‑Work Zewde, Director-General-designate of the United Nations Office at Nairobi; and Joan Clos, Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).  He also held a town hall meeting that day with United Nations staff.

On Friday, Mr. Ban opened the CEB formal session, a meeting which, twice a year, brings together the heads of the specialised agencies, funds and programmes in the United Nations system.

At the end of the afternoon, following a meeting with Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Secretary-General held a press conference to discuss recent developments, including those in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan and Libya.  He referred to the attack on the United Nations compound in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, that day, and described it as an outrageous attack that cannot be justified under any circumstances.

Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General formally swore in Sahle-Work Zewde as the first dedicated Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi.  The Secretary-General said that Ms. Zewde, an Ethiopian with wide diplomatic and United Nations experience, notably in Africa, was a natural choice for the position.  He added that the United Nations Office at Nairobi is the only one of the four United Nations global headquarters that is located in a developing country.

The Secretary-General also spoke by telephone that day with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, to express his concern at the current difficulties in the Middle East peace process.

On Saturday, the Secretary-General spoke by phone with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, about the previous day’s attack on United Nations premises.  While in Kenya, the Secretary-General also spoke by telephone with the leaders of Nepal, Norway, Sweden and Romania, all of whom lost nationals in the attack on the United Nations in Afghanistan.  He also spoke with the Kenyan Prime Minister, who expressed his condolences.

The Secretary-General continued the CEB retreat before travelling to Naivasha, to visit the Olkaria Geothermal facility.  He commented that the geothermal developments there were “the beginning of what promises to be a 20‑year journey that could make Kenya a low-carbon, resource-efficient ‘green economy’”.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13493)

The Secretary-General spoke by phone late on Saturday night with President Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire to express his concern at developments in that country.

Mr. Ban left Kenya that evening for New York, where he arrived on Sunday morning via London.

For information media. Not an official record.