Activities of Secretary-General in Zambia, 24-26 February

29 February 2012

Activities of Secretary-General in Zambia, 24-26 February

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Lusaka on the afternoon of Friday, 24 February, after an overnight flight from London via Dubai.

The Secretary-General went immediately to the National Assembly, where he first met the Speaker, the Honourable Justice Patrick Matibini, before addressing Parliament at a special session broadcast on radio across the country.  He said the world had witnessed more than sporting success in Zambia’s football victory in the Africa Cup of Nations.  The world had also seen Zambia’s spirit.  He said that democracy runs deep in Zambia and that work on a new constitution would deepen it further.  He said that offered an opportunity for Zambia to lead again by enshrining the highest standards of human rights and protection for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.  He also paid tribute to Zambia’s peacekeepers, 73 of whom have lost their lives on United Nations duty over the years.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14125)

Next, the Secretary-General discussed a number of topics with a number of Members of Parliament, including the rights of people regardless of sexual orientation, refugees and climate change.

That evening, the Secretary-General spoke with United Nations staff at a town hall meeting and was briefed by the United Nations country team.

Early on the morning of Saturday, 25 February, the Secretary-General travelled to meet Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, at his office.

Next, the Secretary-General visited the Fountain of Hope, a drop-in centre for street children that is supported by UNICEF and a range of non-governmental organizations, as well as the Government of Zambia.  He said he was impressed to see the youngsters healthy and learning life skills.  “A country that cares for and nurtures its children will definitely be strong,” the Secretary-General said.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14128)

The Secretary-General then held talks with Michael Chilufya Sata, the President of Zambia, and several Cabinet ministers at State House.  The Secretary-General spoke to reporters and attended a state lunch hosted by the President.

The Secretary-General and his Special Adviser on Sport for Peace and Development, Wilfried Lemke, together with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, spent the afternoon at the Olympic Youth Development Centre, the first of its kind, where they watched and met many young people who use the centre for sport, education and other activities.  He addressed a large crowd of students in the main sports hall, and said that the Centre goes beyond promoting excellence in sport by providing help to educate young people.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14129)  He later spoke to reporters.

The Secretary-General later attended a reception at which one of the players from the “Chipolopolo” national football team appeared with the Africa Cup of Nations won by Zambia earlier in the month, and later a dinner hosted by IOC President Rogge.

At dawn on Sunday, 26 February, the Secretary-General, accompanied by Madam Ban, flew by a United Nations peacekeeping aircraft from Lusaka to Livingstone, where he first visited Hillcrest School for a discussion on human rights with students from high schools in the area.

The Secretary-General then transferred to inaugurate a “One Stop Shop” for tourism licensing, a centre that is intended to make it easier to set up businesses related to the tourist industry in the area, where Victoria Falls are located.  The Secretary-General, accompanied by Madam Ban, visited the Falls with a number of Zambian ministers.

The Secretary-General gave a press conference before leaving early that afternoon on a United Nations peacekeeping aircraft for Luanda, Angola, where he arrived later that afternoon.

For information media. Not an official record.