Activities of Secretary-General in Spain, 4-7 April

17 April 2013

Activities of Secretary-General in Spain, 4-7 April

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Madrid on Thursday afternoon, 4 April, after a flight from Nice, having visited Monaco.

He first held talks with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey, in which they discussed a broad range of topics, including sustainable development and Syria, Mali, Western Sahara and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Secretary-General then gave a joint news conference with the Prime Minister, in which he answered questions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria and Iran.

Next the Secretary-General addressed the closing session of a high-level meeting on hunger, food security and nutrition.  He said many of the world’s emerging economies, such as Brazil, China and India, understand that achieving food security can unlock the potential for exponential growth.  “They know that agricultural and rural development reduce hunger and poverty, so they are putting it at the top of their political agendas.  I applaud this emphasis on human capital,” he said.  “But eliminating hunger is not easy.  And much more needs to be done.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/14923.)

The Secretary-General also took part in an event with young people to launch the 1,000 days to the end-of-2015 deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

That evening the Secretary-General held talks with Crown Prince Felipe.  They discussed Spain’s contribution to the United Nations and also exchanged views on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  He also attended a reception with members of the United Nations Chief Executives Board (CEB) that was hosted by the Crown Prince.  The Chief Executives Board brings together different heads of the agencies, funds and programmes within the United Nations system.  Discussions focused on the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development plans for after 2015, as well as a wide range of other topics.

During the day on 5 April, the Secretary-General attended and chaired Chief Executives Board sessions, including at the headquarters of the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization.

From there, the Secretary-General spoke by Skype with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head for campaigning for the right to education for girls.

That evening, the Secretary-General received the New Economic Forum award, on behalf of the United Nations, in a ceremony at the Teatro Real.  In a speech, the Secretary-General said we need to accelerate our work for the Millennium Development Goals, make the most of the next 1,000 days and meet the millennium promise.  He added:  “And as we look beyond 2015, we need a transformative agenda that focuses on decent jobs, social inclusion and food security — a vision that puts people and the planet at the centre; one that brings clean water and sustainable energy to the millions who lack it; one that ensures fair access to markets and resources, and strengthens financial and economic stability for all countries.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/14926.)

On 6 April, the Secretary-General took part in further CEB meetings.

The Secretary-General spoke by telephone with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss developments on the Korean peninsula.

In the evening, the Secretary-General attended a football match between Real Madrid and Levante at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.  The Secretary-General took a ceremonial kick to draw attention to the 1,000-day Millennium Development Goals deadline.

On Sunday morning, 7 April, the Secretary-General left Madrid and flew to Amsterdam and then continued by road to The Hague, where he arrived in the early afternoon of the same day.

For information media. Not an official record.