2 July 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held meetings today in Beijing with senior Chinese officials on the second day of his visit to the world’s most populous country, discussing issues ranging from United Nations reform to climate change and the current global food crisis. Mr. Ban met with President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and State Councillor (Vice-premier) Dai Bingguo while in the Chinese capital.The Chinese leaders expressed their appreciation of the visit by Mr. Ban to the quake- affected Sichuan province in May, and the humanitarian assistance provided by UN agencies to China. Mr. Hu also expressed his appreciation of Mr. Ban’s work since he assumed the post of UN Secretary-General 18 months ago. The Secretary-General discussed the three inter-related global challenges – climate changes, food crisis and the need to achievement the Millennium Development Goals on time – and how they should be addressed with global responses, with his Chinese hosts.Mr. Ban told Mr. Hu that “the United Nations needs strong participation, partnership and cooperation from China. I count on your continuing leadership and cooperation.” The leaders also discussed a wide range of issues, including UN-China relations and UN reform, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and the Korean peninsula. Senior UN officials at the meetings described them as being very friendly and cordial.Mr. Ban started the day by visiting an HIV clinic which provides free or subsidized treatment and counselling. Together with Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, he talked to people affected with HIV, including a woman who gave birth three weeks ago, and the medical staff. The Secretary-General said HIV/AIDS remained at the top of his agenda and he praised those who work as volunteers at the clinic.The Secretary-General then visited the main Olympic Stadium in Beijing, popularly known as “the bird’s nest” because of its architectural design. He told the press that he was very impressed with what he saw and believed that the Beijing Olympics will be the most successful Games in history.He also addressed a meeting of the Global Compact China Network, stressing the need for Chinese companies to help “lay the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous future” by advancing responsible corporate practices.China is the second leg of Mr. Ban’s first official visit to North-East Asia since taking office. He will travel to the Republic of Korea on Thursday before returning to Japan to attend the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations in Hokkaido. read more

The United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, turned its focus today to partnership initiatives aimed at connecting the draft plan of action with actual efforts to implement its goals.Considered by many to be one of the major outcomes of the Summit, the partnerships mark an innovation that brings governments together with the private sector, civil society and international organizations.”The partnership initiatives are intended to ensure that there is real action toward sustainable development after the Summit,” Nitin Desai, the Secretary-General of the Summit, said, cautioning that the initiative should not be seen as a substitute for government commitments.”Too often, we have seen conferences end with only a document,” he added. “We need government commitments – that’s what the negotiations are for. But we need to know who is actually planning to implement what the Summit decides.”The United Nations announced that it has received 218 partnership submissions, and more than 40 of them will be showcased over the next three days. Twenty initiatives deal with water, with $20 million in funding already committed, while another 12 proposals tackle agriculture, food security and rural development.Meanwhile, about $11 million has been committed for 30 partnerships relating to energy, and another $70 million pledged for 31 plans on cross-sectoral issues focusing on poverty. read more