Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 9-12 September

21 September 2012

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 9-12 September

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon left Turin, Italy and arrived in Geneva, Switzerland in the morning of 9 September.

On 10 September, the Secretary-General addressed the opening of the twenty-first session of the Human Rights Council.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14497

Later, the Secretary-General met with Pierre Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and senior staff of the Committee.  While acknowledging the distinct identities, mandates and range of operations of the United Nations and ICRC, the Secretary‑General and Mr. Maurer stressed the complementarity of the two organizations and expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation and contacts between them.  They also discussed a number of humanitarian crises, including Syria, Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Sahel.  The Secretary-General thanked the staff members of ICRC for their commitment and courage as well as the “passion and compassion” with which they carry out their life-saving activities.  He noted that the United Nations and ICRC were natural partners in upholding the values of humanity.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General participated in the dedication of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. League of Nations Archives Reading Room and Opening of the Exhibition on International Philanthropy at the League of Nations Museum of the UNOG Library, at the Palais des Nations.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14498)

He then delivered a public lecture organized by the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, in presence of the Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor and Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.  The lecture was attended by some 2,000 students and professors, as well as members of the general public.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14501)

On Tuesday, 11 September, the Secretary-General travelled to Bern, where he addressed the Swiss Federal Parliament.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14503)

He later met with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and members of the Swiss Government.  The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for the significant contribution made by Switzerland to the work of the United Nations in the decade since its accession, including in the field of preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and human rights.  The Secretary-General discussed the situation in Syria, as well as remaining challenges in reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the post-2015 development agenda.  They exchanged views on ways to promote sustainable energy for all and make progress towards a legally binding framework on climate change.  They also discussed the reform of the United Nations and the Strategic Heritage Plan for the renovation of the Palais des Nations.  The Secretary-General and the President then gave a joint press conference at the Federal Palace in Bern before the Secretary-General returned to Geneva.

The Secretary-General left Geneva for New York on 12 September.

For information media. Not an official record.