29 January 2019

Activities of Secretary-General in Switzerland, 23-25 January

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Davos from New York early on Wednesday, 23 January, to attend the World Economic Forum.

In his meetings there he would reiterate his call for a fair globalization that benefits those who needed the most.  Inequality is rising and economic growth is not reaching those who need it most, he would stress.

The focus of his Davos participation would be the keynote address he would deliver on Thursday entitled “Integrated Response to a Disintegrating Global Order”.

On Wednesday, the Secretary-General had a series of bilateral meetings, including with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine; Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium; Jack Ma, Co-Chair of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation and Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group; and Karl Schwab, Chief Executive Officer of the World Economic Forum.

On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General spoke at a plenary session at the World Economic Forum in Davos.  He underlined the modern contradiction in which global challenges are interlinked, but our response is fragmented.  There’s also a growing sense, he said, that political systems, nationally and internationally, have lost the confidence of many people.  Speaking as a multilateralist, he said that we should not vilify those who don’t agree with us and have lost faith; we need to understand the root causes of why large sections of the population disagree with us and to address the discontent of those who feel left behind.

Governments and international organizations need to act and show that we care, he said during a conversation with the former Norwegian Foreign Minister and current President of the World Economic Forum, Børge Brende.

Turning to climate change, the Secretary-General said that the reality is worse than what the scientists had predicted, but the problem is that political will is not there.  However, he added, technology is on our side and the private sector and civil society are fully mobilized.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General held a number of bilateral meetings, including with the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez; the Prime Minister of Jordan, Omar Razzaz; and the United Arab Emirates’ Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Mohammed bin Abdullah al Gergawi.  He also met with Susannah Rogers, a gold medal Paralympics swimmer and disability rights advocate.

He participated on Thursday in “Facebook Live” with Quartz reporter Eshe Nelson, and was also interviewed by Fox Business News’ Maria Bartiromo and by James Landale for BBC Live.

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Friday, arriving early in the afternoon.

For information media. Not an official record.