Activities of Secretary-General in France, 2-4 November

8 November 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in France, 2-4 November

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in France from Libya in the evening of Wednesday, 2 November.

At the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in Cannes, on 3 and 4 November, the Secretary-General urged the G-20 leaders to deliver united leadership to address the urgent problems of the world economy, and welcomed the efforts at the Cannes Summit in this regard.

The Secretary-General called on leaders to address long-term challenges by accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and uniting behind a common vision of sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, “Rio+20”, scheduled for 2012.  The Secretary-General also encouraged the G-20 leaders to contribute to a new, post-2015 development agenda based on the principles of sustainability, equity and inclusion.  Accordingly, he urged leaders to set out sustainable development goals that could pick up where the Millennium Development Goals leave off.

The Secretary-General pledged that the United Nations would play its full role on development issues.  He said the United Nations would continue to broker multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, such as the successful efforts on women’s and children’s health, on food and nutrition security and on sustainable energy.  The Secretary-General emphasized that development requires financing and urged the G-20 countries to explore all possible options — public, private and innovative sources of finances for development.

The Secretary-General held other activities on the margins of the G-20 Summit.  On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General met with Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, and expressed his appreciation for the Republic of Korea’s role in bringing development into the G-20 agenda.  They agreed on the need for the G-20 leaders to look beyond the current eurozone crisis and address development issues and other related matters.  The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation regarding the Republic of Korea’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping, in particular its upcoming contribution in South Sudan.  The Secretary-General also discussed his visit to Libya, as well as the recent humanitarian visit by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and in particular programmes for assisting children.

Later that morning, the Secretary-General addressed the 2011 Labour Summit, known as the “L20”.  He said that the Cannes Summit had to be about more than financial fire-fighting.  It is must be about global economic recovery — growth that is sustainable and inclusive, he added.  The Secretary-General also said it was time to write a new social contract for the twenty-first century that includes a “Global Jobs Pact”.   He said that at a time of crisis and confusion, discord and division, inequality and injustice, we are all called to moral battle once again.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13921)

On Thursday night, the Secretary-General met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, and exchanged views on the ongoing G-20 discussions.  The Secretary-General highlighted the importance of unity of purpose regarding development, as well as the discussions relating to innovative sources of financing for development.  The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister also discussed the Middle East peace process and the Palestine membership issue following the admission decision by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  The Secretary-General emphasized that now is the time for all sides to exercise restraint so as to step back from the collision course.  The Secretary-General expressed his intention to work with the Palestinians, the Israelis and all other interested parties to that end.  The Secretary-General reiterated deep concern at the recent decision announced by the Government of Israel regarding settlement activity.  The Secretary-General also underlined his support for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians to have a viable sovereign State.  While noting that admission into United Nations specialized agencies was a decision for Member States, the Secretary-General expressed his concern over the potential impact it would have on the work of these organizations for millions of people around the world.  The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister also discussed the situation in Yemen and Syria.  In particular, the Secretary-General appreciated efforts by Arab countries to find solutions to these crises.  They also discussed the situation in Iran.

The Secretary-General also met that evening with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.  They discussed the ongoing G-20 Summit discussions, particularly concerning innovative sources of financing for development and climate-change financing.  The Secretary-General also expressed his hope that the European Union would play a strong political leadership role on the road to the Rio+20 Conference and at the meeting itself the following year.  They also exchanged views on the situation in Syria, as well as on the Middle East peace process and the Palestinian membership issue.  They discussed Cyprus and the progress made on this issue at the recent meeting convened by the Secretary-General in Long Island, New York.

Later, in a meeting with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, the Secretary-General discussed the situation in Somalia and the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa.  They talked about the situation in Libya following the Secretary-General’s recent visit to the country, and exchanged views on the security implications for the region.  They also discussed innovative sources of financing for development and the need to keep promises regarding climate-change financing.

On Friday afternoon, before departing Cannes, the Secretary-General met with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey.  They discussed Cyprus and the progress made on this issue at the recent meeting convened by the Secretary-General, remaining challenges, as well as the situation in Syria and efforts to resolve the crisis there.  The Secretary-General stressed the importance for the international community of speaking in a coherent voice on this matter.  On Libya, the Secretary-General briefed on his recent visit and detailed the United Nations support to the country.  He also talked about the United Nations electoral support to the recent elections in Tunisia.  The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister discussed the relationship between Turkey and Israel, the Middle East peace process and the Palestine membership issue following the decision by the General Conference of UNESCO.

The Secretary-General left Cannes on Friday, 4 November, to go back to New York.

For information media. Not an official record.