The United Nations Secretary-General arrived in in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, from Japan on Monday night, 8 August.
On Tuesday, he attended a welcoming ceremony in his honour hosted by President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa. This was followed by a bilateral meeting with the President in which they discussed the geopolitical situation in the region, the challenges Mongolia faces as a landlocked country, and Mongolia’s efforts to tackle climate change, among other topics.
He then held two separate bilateral meetings with Zandanshatar Gombojav, Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia, and Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg.
The meetings were followed by a joint press encounter with Ms. Battsetseg, in which the Secretary-General told journalists that his visit was to pay tribute to Mongolia as a symbol of peace in a troubled world and to express the United Nations full solidarity with Mongolia — a landlocked country that is facing enormous challenges because of climate change and the difficulties in the present global economy.
He underscored that in a world with dramatic geopolitical divides and where conflicts proliferate everywhere, Mongolia — as an area free of nuclear weapons — is an example for other countries to follow.
“There is only one way to be absolutely sure that a nuclear war is impossible,” he said, “and that way is if there are no nuclear weapons.”
The Secretary-General also expressed his gratitude to all Mongolian peacekeepers for their service in United Nations peace operations, often in the most challenging settings and with courage in the way they protect civilians where, unfortunately, there’s sometimes no peace to keep. Mongolia has the largest per capita contribution to peacekeeping operations and they’re also champions of the women, peace and security agenda.
After the press encounter, the Secretary-General took part — alongside youth and peacekeepers — in a tree-planting event for Mongolia’s One Billion Trees campaign. This campaign is one of the things Mongolia is doing to address climate change and desertification of its land. The Secretary-General said the campaign will make an enormous difference in relation to climate change, biodiversity and desertification. He added that it will be the symbol of reconciliation between humanity and nature because only with harmony between humanity and nature there will be a future for this planet. (See Press Release SG/SM/21407.)
That evening, the Secretary-General visited a nomadic family and learned about their way of life. He also made a stop at the UN House where he met a group of beneficiaries of United Nations projects including women entrepreneurs and youth activists.
That evening, he also attended a mini Nadaam Festival hosted in his honour. The festival consists of wrestling, horseracing and archery competitions.
The next day, the Secretary-General attended the cavalier show “King of the Kings — Chinggis Khaan”, which tells the story of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol empire. He then went to a retreat in the countryside, at the invitation of the President, where he had several tête-à-têtes with Mr. Ukhnaa.
He also attended a dinner with the President and a bonfire organized with traditional entertainment.
The next day, the Secretary-General had breakfast with the President. Before leaving for Ulaanbaatar, the President gifted him a horse, which the Secretary-General name Hope.
At the airport, he gave an interview to Mongolia’s National Broadcaster, MNB, and Bloomberg TV in Mongolia.
The Secretary-General left for Seoul, Republic of Korea, in the afternoon.