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Ban Ki-moon Makes Historic Visit To Antarctica


Secretary-General Ban makes historic visit to Antarctica

Ban Ki-moon today became the first United Nations Secretary-General to make an official visit to Antarctica as he travelled to the frozen continent to see first-hand the effects of climate change on its melting glaciers.

Mr. Ban, who has made a climate change a priority issue during his term as Secretary-General, received a briefing from scientists at a Chilean Air Force base in Antarctica before visiting the Collins Glaciers and then the Sejong Research Centre, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists in New York.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to return to Punta Arenas in southern Chile tonight to continue the South American stage of his tour. On Sunday he heads to Brazil to meet the country's President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Last night, Mr. Ban addressed the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, the Chilean capital, where he told the audience that the UN's work is "intimately linked" with the need to promote social cohesion worldwide.

"Our very mission for peace, development and human rights depends on fostering inclusive societies that are stable, safe, just and tolerant - societies that respect diversity, equality of opportunity and participation of all," Mr. Ban said.

He stressed the importance of building and strengthening social cohesion to tackling several key challenges and issues faced by the UN, from climate change to migration to upholding indigenous rights and those of peoples with disabilities.

Earlier on Thursday, he met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, where they discussed Chile's contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, especially in Haiti, as well as the country's efforts to achieving the series of anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

ENDS

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