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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pursues key UN priorities during wide-ranging visit to Europe

Ban Ki-moon speaking at the European Parliament | October 2016

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon crisscrossed Europe seeking support for a wide-range of UN initiatives from climate change to peace in Syria and Afghanistan on a visit that also coincided with the Security Council recommendation of a European as the next Secretary-General, former Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres

Ban Ki-moon phones Antonio Guterres to congratulate him on being nominated by Security Council as #NextSG

"As the ninth man to serve as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres has a special responsibility to include, support and empower the world's women and girls. There is much work ahead, and I pledge to continue to work hard on all these fronts until the last minute of the last day of my mandate," Mr. Ban.

Starting his European visit in Geneva, the Secretary-General urged the parties involved in Syria to find the political will to end the conflict and called on countries for greater support for the millions of Syrians who are in desperate need of help.

A key moment during the week took place in Strasbourg, where the Secretary-General urged members of the European Parliament to support speeded ratification by the European Union (EU) of the Paris Climate Agreement. The European Parliament subsequently voted to fast-track ratification of the agreement, pushing it over the threshold for entry into effect before the next Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakech in November.

Ban Ki-moon thanks the European Parliament & President Schulz for their leadership and support of the #ParisAgreement

Following Strasbourg, the Secretary-General travelled to Brussels, where he urged representatives of seventy-five countries and twenty-five international organizations participating in the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, that was co-hosted by the European Union and the Government of Afghanistan, to work together in support of peace and to strengthen development opportunities for the Afghan people.

Moving on to Rome where the Secretary-General met with Pope Francis, Mr. Ban spoke to a conference organized by the Holy See and the International Olympic Committee on "Sport at the Service of Humanity," an initiative which aims to drive social change and foster tolerance, understanding and peace through sport and faith.

 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon takes part in the opening ceremony of the Vatican conference on “Sport at the Service of Humanity”, along with Pope Francis

In his remarks to the conference, the Secretary General told participants that sport and faith can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In recognition of his work on Sustainable Development and climate change, the Secretary-General was commended during a stop in Hamburg, Germany, with the Honorary Award of the National German Sustainability Awards which are presented to cities, companies and individuals promoting the idea of a sustainable society.

In Hamburg, Ban Ki-moon receives National German Sustainability Award.

"Without a plan for sustainable development our very future as a society, indeed as a species, is in doubt, in danger," the Secretary-General said upon receiving the award. "That is why last year’s historic adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 Goals is so important."

The Secretary General also attended a ceremony on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg City Hall.

In what is likely to be one of Mr. Ban’s final visits to Europe as Secretary-General, his travels also took him to Bern earlier in the week and over the coming weekend to Iceland. 

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