13 October 2016

Activities of Secretary-General in Italy, 5-6 October

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Rome from Brussels on Wednesday, 5 October.

He had a private audience with Pope Francis and then participated in a conference at the Vatican on “Sport at the Service of Humanity”.  The conference was based on an initiative by the Holy See and the International Olympic Committee.  In his remarks at the plenary meeting, the Secretary-General said that sport and faith are based on fundamental values of respect and friendship.  At their best, they are open to everyone; they are diverse and inclusive; and they transcend barriers of nationality and ethnicity.  He said that both sport and faith can help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by driving social change and fostering tolerance, understanding and peace.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18178.)

On Thursday, 6 October, the Secretary-General held meetings with the President of the Senate, Pietro Grasso, and the President of the Chambers of Deputies, Laura Boldrini.  In his meetings, he said that he had discussed some of the most pressing issues on the international agenda, including Syria, Libya and the refugee and migrant crisis.

In remarks to the press following a lunch hosted by President Sergio Mattarella, the Secretary-General said that the previous day marked a historic day for the United Nations and the human family.

He said he was pleased to report that 73 countries — representing more than 58 per cent of emissions — have now officially ratified the Paris Agreement.  As a result, the agreement will enter into force on 4 November.  He said that this demonstrates unstoppable momentum for action to meet the threat of climate change, the defining challenge of our times, as well as his top priority throughout his 10 years in office.

In that same spirit, the Secretary-General congratulated António Guterres, who was nominated by the Security Council for the General Assembly’s consideration to become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.  The Secretary-General said that he considered Mr. Guterres to be a superb choice, and that he looked forward to working closely with him and his team to ensure a smooth transition.

During his visit to Rome, the Secretary-General was interviewed by Vatican Radio and by RAI TV.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General left Rome for Hamburg, Germany.

For information media. Not an official record.