United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded today the South American phase of his latest tour with a visit to the Amazon rainforest and meetings with local indigenous leaders. Climate change remained the focus of his trip.
Ban took a boat ride on the Amazon River and visited Combu Island, where he met with indigenous community leaders, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told journalists.
Speaking to reporters at Combu Island, Ban described the Amazon as a common asset of all mankind that must be preserved, and he added that the region's inhabitants are the pioneers in preserving the rainforest.
The UN chief is now scheduled to travel to Tunisia to attend an international counter-terrorism conference, organized by the UN, the Tunisian Government and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. From there, he heads to Valencia, Spain, to participate in launching the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Secretary-General has already visited Argentina, Chile and Antarctica before he reached Brazil, where he held talks yesterday with the country's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The two men discussed the relationship between the UN and Brazil, Ban's appreciation for Brazil's contribution to UN peacekeeping missions, especially in Haiti, and the plans to hold a high-level meeting next year on the progress so far towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the set of anti-poverty targets which world leaders have committed to try to achieve by 2015.
Ban and Lula also talked about climate change, Ms. Okabe said, and the Secretary-General asked for a greater Brazilian contribution to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), given the growing number of natural disasters worldwide.