Angela Merkel praises the achievements of Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General in Germany Angela Merkel praises the achievements of Ban Ki-moon

Chancellor Angela Merkel has praised the extraordinary services to the international community rendered by the UN Secretary-General. She pointed to his role in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, and the successful conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference. Angela Merkel awarded Ban Ki-moon the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Chancellor presented Ban Ki-moon with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins

Looking back on his ten years in office, Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Ban Ki-moon’s major achievements. He was instrumental in bringing the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris to a successful conclusion, and in having the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted, she declared.

Ban Ki-moon has been Secretary-General of the United Nations since 1 January 2007, when he took over from Kofi Annan. In June 2011 he was re-elected to the office of Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly. His second term of office runs until the end of 2016.

"Germany an anchor of global security," says Ban Ki-moon

In spite of many unresolved problems and the refugee crisis, last year saw two landmark successes with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the successful conclusion of the Climate Change Conference in Paris. "With sound preparations, and when the many partners involved pull together, the international community can accept shared responsibility. To a very great extent we have you to thank for this achievement. And I would like to thank you most warmly," said Angela Merkel.

Ban Ki-moon praised Germany and the Chancellor as strong supporters and partners of the United Nations. Addressing himself directly to the Chancellor, he said, "Throughout my tenure as Secretary-General, I have been able to depend on Chancellor Merkel as a champion of UN causes and a source of wisdom and generous support."

Germany, he continued, is a great country. It has always been a strong advocate for human rights, including gender equality.

The UN Secretary-General said that Germany has always been a very major force for sustainable development. "Germany has been a strong anchor of global security," he stressed. The leadership of the Chancellor has been very important in this context, he added.

Focus on global issues

Their meeting focused on the humanitarian situation in and around Syria, and in African states. They also discussed the formation of a government of national unity in Libya and the peace process in Syria. The UN Secretary-General said, " We agreed on the need for the Syrian government and opposition to engage in good faith when talks resume tomorrow in Geneva. The people of Syria need their country back."

The development of the global health system was another item on the agenda. The Chancellor stressed that Germany has already shouldered responsibility in this field during its Presidency of the G7, and will continue to do so, when it holds the G20 presidency next year.

With regard to the situation in Ukraine, Ban Ki-moon said, " We discussed the situation in Ukraine, sharing concern about the continued human suffering and the urgent need to implement the Minsk agreements. Chancellor Merkel's personal resolve and commitment to bring peace and stability to Ukraine are not only invaluable but also testimony of her diplomatic skill and perseverance."

Another summit meeting to address the refugee crisis

In the context of the refugee crisis, Angela Merkel praised the efforts of the Secretary-General to prepare the coming World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and to organise another summit meeting in September in New York.

In view of the massive movements of refugees arriving at the gates of Europe, Ban Ki-moon praised Angela Merkel’s compassion and readiness to accept responsibility. The Chancellor, he said, had made every effort to find the right approach based on the need to protect every individual. "At a time when some would prefer to take the easier route, she has shown that for a true leader, difficulties are not an obstacle to doing the right thing. She is a true moral voice, not only of Europe but in this world."

Especially in view of many countries’ increasingly restrictive asylum policies and nationalistic interests, he continued, it is important to seek harmonious solutions in line with the values of the United Nations and the European Union. "There is a need for dialogue with affected communities to avoid further polarisation."

As well as taking steps to save lives and crack down on human trafficking, it is important above all to address the roots causes and to improve the situation in the countries of origin. "I am asking world leaders to keep acting responsibly based on international humanitarian law, and based on shared responsibility. I am urging them to show their compassionate leadership as global leaders of this time," declared Ban Ki-moon.

Bonn – home to the UN for 20 years

In view of the fact that Bonn has now been home to UN bodies for 20 years, the Chancellor said, "We are very proud of this UN Campus, which we are lucky enough to have in Germany, and we would like to develop it greatly."

After his visit to Berlin, Ban Ki-moon travelled on to Bonn, where he attended an official ceremony organised jointly by the German government and the United Nations Volunteers.

The city of Bonn will this year celebrate its 20th anniversary as home to various UN organisations, as well as the 10th anniversary of the UN’s Bonn Campus. In 1996 the UN’s blue flag flew over the "Castanien" building for the first time. Since then Bonn has joined New York, Geneva and Vienna as a UN base. In July 2006 the then Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the UN Campus where formerly the German Bundestag met. The "Langer Eugen", a tower block which formerly housed the offices of members of the German Bundestag, became home to the offices of several UN organisations in Bonn.