ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

News & Media

10 September 2012

Your Excellency Mr. Didier Burkhalter, Foreign Minister
of Switzerland,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished local officials,
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,


Je suis très honoré de participer, d’assister à cette célébration à l’occasion du 10ème anniversaire de l'adhésion de la Suisse à l'Onu.

Au nom de la communauté de l'ONU, je voudrais féliciter profondément le peuple et le gouvernement de la Suisse. Nous avons travaillé très étroitement pendant 10 années, j'espère que nous pourrons travailler ensemble pour la paix, pour le développement et pour les droits de l'homme.

Merci, Monsieur le Ministre, pour votre accueil très chaleureux, merci.

Permettez-moi de parler en anglais.

Ladies and gentleman, it's a great honour to participate. Now let me tell you why I am here.

There are ten reasons why I am here today - and these days - to participate in this celebration of the 10th anniversary of Switzerland joining the United Nations.

First, Switzerland has always shared the United Nations' ideals.

Second, Switzerland is the home of our European Headquarters of the United Nations.

Third, Swiss nationals have made enormous contributions to our work.

Fourth, Switzerland has driven important initiatives for human rights, mediation and conflict prevention.

Fifth, Switzerland makes a meaningful contribution to peacebuilding.

Sixth, Switzerland supports efforts to make the UN stronger and more effective and more efficient.

Seventh, Switzerland is committed to international development, leading on critical issues like water and sanitation.

Eighth, Switzerland is the birthplace of the Geneva Conventions and other landmark treaties.

Ninth, Switzerland is a hub of international diplomacy.

Now I have a tenth reason why I am here. My tenth reason on this tenth anniversary is one you would never expect. Just guess, tell me if you have any answer. I have just received this beehive. Switzerland just gave me an amazing gift: 10 productive beehives.

I was really inspired by my visit to the beautiful Swiss Apiary of Ariana Park, where the bees will stay. Each hive is named for different UN objectives. This beehive is named “la paix”, the peace. There are many others: human rights, environment, development, etcetera, etcetera.

My favourite part is the motto on each project: “For a Sweeter World.”

As you know, there has been a potentially disastrous decline in the bee colonies in many parts of the world. We humans depend on bees to pollinate the vast majority
of crops.

By focusing on promoting bees and beekeeping, Switzerland is sounding the alarm and providing an example to other countries.

An example of sustainable development. An example of sustainable agriculture. And an example of the power of women – after all, the Queen is the most important bee! By next year, these bees will produce up to 700 kilograms of honey. Everyone loves honey. That is why they speak about newlywed couples going on “honeymoon.” Since my name is Ban Ki-moon, I am all in favour of honeymoons.

So on this tenth anniversary of Switzerland's membership in the United Nations, let us celebrate the country's enormous contribution to a better – and sweeter – world.

Thank you very much, merci.