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UN Secretary General Visits UN Regional Hub in Panama

© Antonio Cordoba
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the walk around ceremony of the United Nations new Regional Hub in the City of Knowledge, Panama.
PANAMA, 3 June 2007 - In his first official trip to Panama and to Latin America and the Caribbean, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came to visit the future location of the United Nations Regional Hub at the City of Knowledge (Ciudad del Saber) located next to the Panama Canal. The President of Panama, H.E. Martin Torrijos and eleven Regional Directors of UN agencies and programs were present during the brief ‘walk around’ ceremony.

The Secretary General’s visit is a high level follow-up to the United Nations declaration to make Panama and the City of Knowledge its Regional Hub. On December 11 2006, Kermal Dervis, UNDP’s Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, addressed a letter to the Government of Panama to inform them of this declaration. The letter was hand delivered to the President of Panama, H.E. Martin Torrijos, by UNICEF’s Executive Director Ann Veneman in a visit on December 12 2006.

“This is an exciting development for our Organization. At the same time, I know it is a source of pride for the citizens of Panama as well. After all, as the former headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command, this building and its surrounding areas were for many years off-limits to the Panamanian people. Now, however, the citizens of Panama have thrown it open to the whole world,” said Ban Ki-moon during the brief ‘walk around’ of the building.

The visit of the Secretary General denotes the growing presence of the United Nations in Panama. In the five years since the first regional office of the UN system opened in Panama, the City of Knowledge has attracted regional units of the United Nations Development Program and the Pan American Health Organization, as well as the regional offices of the World Food Program, the United Nations Environment Program, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Natural Disaster Reduction Strategy, the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, and UNICEF.

Other agencies of the system are considering the establishment of their regional offices here, most notably the UNFPA.

It has also attracted the interest of other international organizations to establish their regional presence, including the International Organization for Migration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Plan International, CARE, the Special Olympics, and the ALAS Foundation.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information please contact:

Andres Franco, afranco@unicef.org, UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean




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