Foreign Minister Steinmeier and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Bonn on Tuesday (8 March) to mark the city’s 20th anniversary as a UN location. In his speech, Foreign Minister Steinmeier paid tribute to Bonn as “the global capital for sustainability and climate protection”.
High‑level visit in Bonn
Bonn receives many high‑level visits. However, the guest list for the ceremony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city as a UN location was impressive, even for Bonn. Along with Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon, the guests included Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers programme, Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn.
Sustainability and climate protection
“The United Nations has been based in Bonn for 20 years and its presence here is continuing to grow,” Steinmeier said at the start of his speech. Bonn played a key role worldwide in sustainability and climate protection, while the groundwork laid by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn was crucial to the climate agreement reached at COP21 Paris in December 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon, who met Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin prior to his visit to Bonn, paid tribute to Germany’s role in the world, describing the country as “a major force of sustainable development”.
UN Volunteers – a success story from Bonn
The United Nations Volunteers programme is another success story to emanate from Bonn. “Whether as school teachers, kindergarten teachers or agricultural experts, UN Volunteers do outstanding work worldwide,” Steinmeier said in his speech. This was particularly the case in the fields of peace, climate protection and human rights. Their work was outstanding “not only because they provide concrete help, but also because they play a crucial role in shaping the process of understanding and reconciliation between societies. And this – the aim to understand other people – is a fundamental tenet of our foreign policy.”