Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 21-24 January

27 January 2014

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 21-24 January

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Geneva on the morning of Tuesday, 21 January, after an overnight flight from New York.

He first delivered the opening statement at the start of the 2014 session of the Conference on Disarmament at United Nations headquarters in Geneva, the Palais des Nations.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15601.)

He next met with Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Secretary-General then presided over a swearing-in ceremony for a number of senior Geneva-based United Nations officials, including the Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Michael Moller.

Later, the Secretary-General was briefed by the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, on the preparations for the talks on Syria.

In the early afternoon, the Secretary-General, accompanied by Mr. Brahimi and other senior advisers, flew by Swiss military helicopter to Montreux to prepare for the next day’s high-level segment of the Geneva Conference on Syria.

On arrival in Montreux, the Secretary-General met first with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil Elaraby.  He later met the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud al Faisal.  The Secretary-General also met with the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Madani.

That evening, the Secretary-General also held a meeting with members of the Syrian opposition before taking part in a trilateral meeting with Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

Early the following morning, Wednesday, 22 January, the Secretary-General met with the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, and then Didier Burkhalter, the President of the Swiss Confederation.

The bulk of the rest of the day was devoted to the high-level segment of the Geneva Conference on Syria, to which more than 40 delegations came, along with three regional organizations.  The Secretary-General presided over the conference (see Press Releases SG/SM/15602 and SG/SM/15604), making clear it was an important sign of solidarity and support from the international community to the people of Syria.  It was the first time the Syrian Government and opposition had sat in the same room since the fighting began.

During the lunch break, the Secretary-General met with the Syrian Government delegation.

After the Conference ended, the Secretary-General and Mr. Brahimi held a news conference to brief reporters on the day’s proceedings and answer questions.

On the morning of Thursday, 23 January, the Secretary-General met with Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister of China, before flying by Swiss military helicopter to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum.

The Secretary-General was visiting Davos to attend the Forum and numerous related events, most with a focus on climate change, development and agriculture.  Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson also attended the Forum, travelling separately from Montreux to Davos.  He had a separate programme and joined the Secretary-General for some events and meetings.

The Secretary-General first held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, whom he recently appointed Co-Chair of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group.

They were then joined by the other Co-Chair, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, before attending an event with Millennium Development Goals advocates and other champions of girls’ empowerment.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15606.)

The Secretary-General later spoke at a news conference on climate change and energy with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank.

He also had a bilateral meeting with the World Bank President and then met Klaus Schwab, the founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.  Later, he had a bilateral meeting with Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Next, the Secretary-General spoke at an event hosted by the World Food Programme on his Zero Hunger Challenge initiative, becoming the first to sign a pledge of action he would take to help end extreme poverty.  While there, he welcomed news of a ceasefire agreement in South Sudan.

At a subsequent Global Compact event with global business leaders, he discussed the importance of business leadership on climate change and the development framework that will follow the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.

Late that same evening, the Secretary-General met with Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.

On the morning of Friday, 24 January, the Secretary-General first attended an event on transforming agriculture and then took part in a similar session on reshaping the global climate agenda.  These were behind closed doors.

At a World Economic Forum plenary session, the Secretary-General joined a number of other senior figures to discuss climate change, green growth and development.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15611.)

He also spoke at an event on catalysing green investment.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15612.)

The Secretary-General then left Davos, flying to Zurich by Swiss military helicopter and then on by commercial aircraft to New York.

For information media. Not an official record.