Ban to depart on six-nation tour next week


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will embark next week on a trip that will take him to Russia, Qatar, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Turkey to tackle issues such as consolidating stability in Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process and the current economic turmoil.

Mr. Ban’s first stop on his nearly two-week trip will be the Russian capital, Moscow, where he will take part in a conference on Afghanistan organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), on 27 March.

The gathering will focus on the impact that the situation in the war-torn nation is having on neighbouring countries, and will also identify ways to jointly confront threats in Afghanistan, such as terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.

The Secretary-General will then travel to Doha, Qatar, to attend the League of Arab States summit, where he will discuss the Middle East peace process, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia.

From Qatar, he will move on to The Hague to open the International Conference on Afghanistan on 31 March. The meeting, which follows similar events held previously in Bonn, London and Paris, will assess the current political, security and development issues in the South Asian nation.

Next up for Mr. Ban will be the so-called Group of 20 (G20) “Summit for Stability, Growth and Jobs” in London on 2 April. Participants are expected to discuss how to respond to the global recession which has resulted in falling trade and surging unemployment.

Mr. Ban is expected to call on G20 leaders to resist protectionism and commit themselves to supporting developing countries.

The Secretary-General will then depart for the French capital for a retreat with the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), which brings together the heads of the various UN specialized agencies and the chiefs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), otherwise known as the Bretton Woods institutions.

The group, which meets twice a year, will discuss the global financial crisis and how the world body is responding to it, as well as reviewing the work of the UN system in key areas, including security and climate change.

Mr. Ban’s last stop will be in Istanbul, Turkey, for the second Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, which brings together religious leaders, governments, philanthropists, corporations, the media, academia and activists to help overcome prejudices among nations, cultures and religions.

The Forum will examine some of the challenges of good governance and culture in the face of rapidly accelerating globalization. To forge partnerships and increase interaction between diverse communities, it will also assemble a network of global leaders and heads of international organizations, corporations, media, civil society and youth groups.