Secretary-General to depart for Austria, Norway and Switzerland

24 August 2009
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will depart on Thursday on a three-nation trip that will include the 30th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations headquarters in Austria, an official visit to Norway that will also take him to the Polar ice rim and a stop in Switzerland for a global climate conference.

While in the Austrian capital, Mr. Ban will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Vienna International Centre and meet with Vienna-based UN organizations and staff, UN spokesperson Michele Montas announced today.

Designed by Austrian architect Johann Staber, the Centre was handed over to the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 23 August 1979.

Mr. Ban will deliver the keynote address at the Opening of the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach, as well as meet with the Federal President and Foreign Minister of Austria and with the Prime Minister of Liechtenstein.

The Secretary-General will then go to Oslo, Norway, for an official visit where he is scheduled to meet on 31 August with the Norwegian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

From Oslo, the Mr. Ban will travel to Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean, to see firsthand the impact of climate change in the Arctic, said Ms. Montas.

“Over the course of his two-day trip, he will visit polar research stations and the Global Seed Vault, get the latest updates on issues relating to the thinning ice and make his way to the Polar ice rim,” she told reporters in New York.

The visit to the ice rim is part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing efforts to push for action ahead of a major climate change conference to be held in December in Copenhagen, where Member States will aim to “seal the deal” on a new global greenhouse gas emissions reduction pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

It follows Mr. Ban’s visit – the first by a UN Secretary-General – to Antarctica in November 2007, during which he saw the effects of climate change on the continent’s melting glaciers.

The UN chief’s last stop will be the Swiss city of Geneva, where he will participate on 3 September in the opening of the high-level segment of the Third World Climate Conference of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN agency dealing with weather, climate and water.

 

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