Ban arrives in Switzerland to press leaders for urgent action on global crises

28 January 2009
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) holds talks with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Switzerland today to attend the World Economic Forum in the Alps town of Davos, where is he expected to call for a new chapter in private sector participation in addresses critical issues such as climate change, water scarcity and the global financial crisis.

While in Davos, he will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders and top business executives and is scheduled to hold a press conference on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally agreed upon targets to eradicate poverty and other social ills by the target date of 2015, as well as participate in a special session on Gaza.

He arrived in Switzerland today from Spain, where he co-chaired the Food Security for All meeting in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

That gathering ended with the two leaders stressing the need for a “comprehensive approach that links nutrition, food security, agriculture and trade” to address the food crisis.

“It depends on inclusive, broad-based partnerships bringing together governments, civil society, farmers’ organizations, businesses and international organizations,” they said in a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day meeting.

Today, the Secretary-General signed an agreement with Spain’s Government on setting up a new global telecommunications facility for peacekeeping operations to be built in Valencia.

The new site, intended to complement the existing UN communications infrastructure in Brindisi, Italy, will curb the risks of depending on a single hub.

“For a global organization such as the United Nations, the ability to communication clearly, quickly and around the clock is crucial,” Mr. Ban said in Madrid at the signing ceremony for the new facility. “For our peacekeeping operations, communications can be the difference between life and death.”

The Valencia site will “help us help people in dire need throughout the world,” he added.

Before leaving Spain today, the Secretary-General had a working luncheon with the Global Compact network in the European nation.

Established in 2000, the Compact is a UN-created alliance in which close to 5,000 participating businesses in 130 countries have pledged to align their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in areas ranging from human rights and labour to the environment and anti-corruption practices.


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