Activities of Secretary-General in Davos, Switzerland, 17-20 January

On Tuesday morning, 17 January, the Secretary-General arrived in Davos, Switzerland, where he would deliver on Wednesday a special address on “The State of the World”.

Early on Wednesday morning, before delivering his special address to the World Economic Forum, the Secretary-General met with Alain Berset, the President of the Swiss Confederation.  They discussed the bilateral relations between the United Nations and Switzerland.  The Secretary-General congratulated the Swiss on their first term on the Security Council.  He thanked Mr. Berset for Switzerland’s steadfast support for the Organization.

The Secretary-General then delivered his special address to the plenary meeting of the World Economic Forum.  He gave laid out a blunt picture of the state of the world and divisions standing in the way of global problem solving.

“I am not here to sugar-coat the scale of that challenge or the sorry state of our world,” he said.  “We can’t confront problems unless we look them squarely in the eye.  And we are looking into the eye of a Category 5 hurricane.”

The Secretary-General commented on the challenges we face regarding global health, the fear of recession, debt load, violations of international law and climate change, to name just a few.

“It would be difficult to find solutions to these global problems in the best of times if the world was united,” the Secretary-General said.  “But, these are far from the best of times and the world is far from united.”

He encouraged world leaders to work to control the damage and seize opportunities.

“Now more than ever, it’s time to forge the pathways to cooperation in our fragmented world,” he concluded.  (See Press Release SG/SM/21661.)

Following the address, the Secretary-General attended the annual closed-door Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders.

He also participated in an event organized by the United Nations Global Compact bringing together the business community to encourage them to show greater leadership on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the margins of the World Economic Forum, the Secretary-General had a number of meetings with private sector leaders relating to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the export of Russian fertilizer.

On Wednesday evening, he attended an event with the Global Investors for Sustainable Development.  The Secretary-General called on members of the alliance to leverage their expertise and influence to reach the wider universe of businesses, including in developing countries, to scale up investments for sustainable development.

On Thursday, the Secretary-General left Davos and travelled to Yverdon-les-Bains where he took part in the seventeenth Seminar of his current Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys.

The Secretary-General departed Switzerland on Friday, 20 January, at midday.

For information media. Not an official record.