13 October 2016

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 2-4 October

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Geneva from New York on Sunday, 2 October.

That afternoon they attended a tea hosted by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.  He also met with Robert Glasser, his Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.

That evening, they attended a special tribute concert in his honour at Victoria Hall.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18169.)

On Monday, the Secretary-General attended a breakfast hosted by Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

He then planted a second-generation Hibakusha tree at Ariana Park in the Palais des Nations.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18170.)

While at the Palais, the Secretary-General held a town-hall meeting with staff.

The Secretary-General spoke to the Executive Committee of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  He highlighted the fact that we are living in a world where the global displacement and refugee crisis has dramatically deteriorated.  The Secretary-General told the members of the Executive Committee that the pledge to leave no one behind, which is the basis of the 2030 Agenda, cannot be achieved until millions of refugees and displaced people are lifted out of poverty and misery.  He pledged that the United Nations is doing everything possible to mobilize countries in a spirit of solidarity.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18171.)

The Secretary-General later spoke to journalists in Geneva.  In his opening remarks, he said that he would have hoped for a different result to the previous day’s plebiscite in Colombia, but added that he was encouraged by the commitment expressed by President Juan Manuel Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People's Army Commander Timoleón Jiménez.  To support them, the Secretary-General urgently dispatched his Special Representative, Jean Arnault, to Havana to continue his consultations.

Speaking about Aleppo, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the deliberate campaign against civilians and health workers and humanitarian personnel trying to save them.

The Secretary-General attended a luncheon organized by the Forum Suisse de Politique Internationale.

On Monday afternoon, he also spoke to students at Geneva’s Graduate School of International Studies.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18173.)

On Monday evening, he travelled to Bern, where, on Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General had a working breakfast with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann Schneider-Ammann.  The Secretary-General thanked the President for Switzerland’s support for the work of the United Nations, including the country’s assistance in hosting a number of peace talks and especially for the Strategic Heritage Plan for the United Nations Geneva headquarters.  They also exchanged views on the issues related to migration and refugees, Syria and Haiti, among other topics.

The Secretary-General departed Switzerland for Strasbourg by plane on Tuesday morning.

For information media. Not an official record.