2 May 2017

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 24-27 April

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Zurich on Monday morning, 24 April.  He transferred to Bern for his first official visit to the Swiss Confederation.  His meeting with Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter was followed by a press encounter organized by the Swiss Government.  At the press event, the Secretary-General praised the role of Switzerland in the multilateral system, and the excellent cooperation between the country and the United Nations.  He also highlighted the role of International Geneva in the mediation work of the Organization and as a platform for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Then the Secretary-General met with the leadership of the External Relations Committees of both Chambers of Parliament, and attended a dinner hosted by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard.  At the end of the evening, the Secretary-General transferred to Geneva.

On Tuesday, 25 April, the Secretary-General met with the Political Directors of the Geneva Group in a formal session, which took place at the Permanent Mission of the United States of America, and during which he discussed the priorities for his mandate, among other issues.

The Secretary-General then held a trilateral meeting with the foreign ministers Didier Burkhalter of Switzerland and Margot Wallström of Sweden, co-facilitators of the high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.  The Secretary-General subsequently opened that session, where he asked the international community to mobilize in solidarity with this war-torn country.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18499.)

The Secretary-General held a number of bilateral meetings — with the Foreign Minister of Norway, Børge Brende; the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Staff Coordinating Council, Ian Richards; the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Veysi Kaynak; the Prime Minister of Yemen, Ahmed Obaid Mubarek Bin-Dagher; Abdullah al Matouq, former Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General; and foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Secretary-General returned to the high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen to make a closing statement.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18500.)

This was immediately followed by a joint press encounter alongside foreign ministers Wallström of Sweden and Burkhalter of Switzerland.  The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to international donors who that day pledged nearly $1.1 billion to help scale up life-saving aid to millions of people in need in Yemen.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 26-27 April, the Secretary-General chaired the formal sessions and retreat of the Chief Executives Board (CEB), partly in Geneva and partly in Montreux.  The two formal sessions on Wednesday focused on the state of the world and on the future of multilateralism, while the Thursday session looked at reform of the United Nations Development System.

On Wednesday, the Secretary-General also held a bilateral meeting with the Vice-President of Switzerland, Alain Berset, in Montreux.

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Thursday afternoon, 27 April.

For information media. Not an official record.