United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Yokohama, Japan, from France on the afternoon of Tuesday, 27 August.
He was in Japan to attend the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
On Wednesday, 28 August, the Secretary-General tweeted that Africa is a dynamic continent of opportunity, where winds of hope are blowing ever stronger. He said he was participating in TICAD “to call on the international community to scale up its partnership with Africa for its peace and sustainable development efforts”.
The Secretary-General’s first engagement that day was a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. They discussed Japan’s cooperation with Africa, especially TICAD, which the Secretary-General said was a very important milestone for Africa to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Secretary-General also underlined the importance of Japan’s contribution to climate change.
He then attended a luncheon hosted by Japan’s Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, before taking part in the opening session, where the Secretary-General said that he sees Africa as a dynamic continent of opportunity where winds of hope are blowing ever stronger.
He noted that TICAD has played a critical role in focusing international dialogue on Africa, built on the twin principles of African ownership and international partnership. (See Press Release SG/SM/19711.)
The Secretary-General also met with President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger. In a tweet, the Secretary-General said that he expressed his total solidarity with the countries and people of the Sahel, adding that the world cannot afford to lose the battle against terrorism in the region. He underscored that we need a stronger partnership to defeat terrorism and for sustainable and inclusive development.
The Secretary-General also held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
He concluded his day by attending a welcome reception co-hosted by Prime Minister Abe and the Mayor of Yokohama, Fumiko Hayashi.
On Thursday, 29 August, the Secretary-General began his day with an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK.
He also participated in the TICAD Special Conference on Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa and the Neighbouring Region.
He also held separate meetings with the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Shinichi Kitaoka; President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso; President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of Egypt; and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth of Mauritius.
The Secretary-General spoke at a thematic session on climate change and disaster risk reduction, noting that Africa only contributes a small amount to climate change, but it experiences the devastating consequences, which is why he is convening September’s Climate Action Summit.
Throughout Africa, long-term drought is an ever-present and growing reality, which is directly implicated in causing insecurity as we see only too clearly in the Sahel, he said, adding that, as is always the case, the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the worst hit by climate impacts.
The Secretary-General underscored that, as well as tackling the causes of climate change, we must leave nobody behind when dealing with its consequences. (See Press Release SG/SM/19714.)
Following this session, the Secretary-General spoke to reporters and expressed his deep appreciation to the Japanese Government for its commitment to African development, as exemplified by the holding of TICAD.
He pointed out that Africa faces a climate crisis, which requires a lot of political will to address and requires the strong commitment of Governments, the private sector and civil society.
Just before leaving Japan early in the morning on Friday, 30 August, he tweeted that he was on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to express both his strong support to those responding to the Ebola outbreak and his solidarity with the country.