Activities of Secretary-General in Bangladesh, 13-16 November

23 November 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Bangladesh, 13-16 November

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, in the evening of Sunday, 13 November.

The following morning, the Secretary-General had breakfast with members of the development community and development partners.

He then met with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and other senior Government officials from the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, Ministry of Health & Welfare and others.  He requested Bangladesh to help enhance cooperative relations between the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations.

Immediately following that meeting, the Secretary-General addressed the opening of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which was also attended by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Moni, former Costa Rican President José Maria Figueres Olsen, and others.

At that event, the Secretary-General stressed that energy is a very effective cost-cutting tool.  “We have still 1.4 billion people in this world who do not have access to electricity,” he said.  “It will help end poverty, drive economic dynamism, and reduce climate risks.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/13942.)

After addressing United Nations staff working in Bangladesh at a town hall meeting, he flew by helicopter to Rajendrapur, where he visited the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT).  He thanked Bangladesh for contributing more than 10,600 Bangladeshi military and police personnel, who are taking part in 10 United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Upon returning to Dhaka, the Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.  They discussed the situation in Bangladesh ahead of the 2014 elections, as well as social, economic and development issues.

Together, the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister inaugurated the One Stop Service Centre, which provides e-governance services.  The Secretary-General said the innovation is commendable because it promotes transparency and accountability.  “Citizens can track the status of their requests — something that many people in developed countries still cannot do,” he said.

He met with health workers and patients at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR,B), where oral rehydration therapy to treat diarrhoea was developed.  It is one of the oldest health research institutions in Bangladesh.

The Secretary-General met with Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.  They discussed Bangladesh’s political transition and the need to make the next elections as fair and credible as the 2008 poll.

He ended his day with a State dinner hosted by Prime Minister Hasina.

The following morning, Tuesday, 15 November, the Secretary-General met with leaders of BRAC, the world’s largest non-governmental organization.

He then flew by helicopter to the north-east region of Moulvibazar, where he visited the Mobarakpur Community Clinic.  There, his visit to the community health clinic was to spotlight the importance of ensuring access to women’s health care in rural areas.

Upon returning to Dhaka, the Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.  They discussed the global economic situation, as well as Bangladesh’s efforts to sustain economic growth and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

At a working luncheon with the Finance Minister and others immediately afterwards, he said that Bangladesh has become a model for the world.  “Not only are you on the front-lines of development challenges,” he said, “you are on the front lines of development solutions.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/13949.)

The Secretary-General gave a public address and was given an honorary doctorate at Dhaka University.  He told the hundreds of people gathered that if Bangladesh is to create the prosperous future that it deserves, it will only do so through national unity and common cause.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13950.)

The Secretary-General held a press conference before attending two dinners.

The first was a dinner for the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance).

The second was a private sector dinner in support of the Every Woman Every Child initiative.  He told participants that although progress has been made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, we lag behind in two areas:  women and children's health.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13951.)

In the morning on Wednesday, 16 November, he travelled onward to Bangkok, Thailand.

For information media. Not an official record.