Late on Sunday, 7 August, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Argentina by car from Brazil at Iguazú. After visiting the Iguazú Falls from the Argentine side, he travelled onwards by air to Buenos Aires.
On Monday morning, after hosting a breakfast with the UN Country Team in Argentina, the Secretary-General delivered the keynote address at the Argentine Council for Foreign Relations, along with Foreign Minister Susanna Malcorra.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General outlined some of the challenges and opportunities of our rapidly changing world. From violent extremism to sustainable development to human rights, the Secretary-General outlined Argentina’s key contributions.
With its historic transition into a solid democracy, Argentina, the Secretary-General told the audience that the country sends a clear message to the world that a society can only flourish by respecting human rights, cultural and religious diversity, democratic processes and justice. (See Press Release SG/SM/17963.)
From there, the Secretary-General went to meet President Mauricio Macri at the Casa Rosada, the official Office of the President.
Following their meeting, the Secretary-General and the President addressed the press. Ban said that he and the President had discussed a full range of issues, including peacekeeping, climate change and gender equality.
He thanked the President for Argentina’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
He also highlighted Argentina’s participation in the United Nations Mission in Colombia.
Noting Argentina’s strong tradition of welcoming immigrants to a land of opportunity, he commended the President’s decision to welcome 3,000 Syrian refugees.
During an official lunch, President Macri awarded Mr. Ban the Gran Cruz of the Order of the Libertador General José de San Martín, Argentina’s highest civilian honour. The Secretary-General said he accepted the award on behalf of the United Nations and the brave women and men who work diligently around the world to uphold the values of the Organization.
Accompanied by Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Ms. Malcorra, the Secretary-General also laid a wreath at the Monument to General San Martín and the Armies of Independence.
The Secretary-General then had a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Malcorra and other members of the Government.
The Secretary-General also met that day with United Nations staff based in Argentina.
The next day the Secretary-General met with Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires. He witnessed the signing of an agreement between the City of Buenos Aires and the Federal Government on the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals at the municipal level. Buenos Aires is the first city in Argentina to sign such an agreement.
Mr. Ban was also given the keys to the city.
The Secretary-General also had an opportunity to engage with young people at a gathering of Argentinian Youth and Civil Society Leaders hosted by the Mayor at City Hall. He told them that youth and civil society groups helped push Governments to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and now it was time for them to make leaders keep their promises. He urged the young people to stay engaged and raise their voices for a better world. See Press Release SG/SM/17969.
He met with members of the Supreme Court of Argentina, including its President, Ricardo Lorenzetti. He commended the judges’ commitment for the protection of human rights of all citizens and with ensuring the implementation of the international instruments ratified by Argentina.
The Secretary-General continued his official visit to Argentina, meeting with senior officials including Emilio Momzó, President of the Chamber of Representatives, and Gabriela Michetti, Vice-President of Argentina and President of the Senate. In both meetings, he called for the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change. He also acknowledged the example Argentina sets in promoting political participation of women.
Prior to leaving the city, the Secretary-General also had an opportunity to visit “Parque de la Memoria”, a public monument erected in the memory of the victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship. Meeting with a group of mothers of the victims, the Secretary-General said that the monument sent a strong message for the respect of human rights, human dignity and tolerance everywhere.
The Secretary-General left Argentina later on Tuesday evening for Los Angeles, California.