BANK KI MOON PAYS A VISIT TO TUNISIA, THE CRADDLE OF THE ARAB SPRING
Drafted by: UNDP Tunisia
During the 10th and 11th of October, for two intensive and productive days, the Secretary- General of the United Nations, Ban Ki moon, visited Tunisia to reaffirm the UN's support to Tunisia in its transition to democracy.
During his visit, the top UN official met with the President of the Republic, Moncef Marzouki, the head of the National Constituent Assembly, Mustapha Ben Jafar, the Prime Minister, Mehdi Jomaa, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mongi Hamdi. In a press conference that was held jointly with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and in a press declaration, the Secretary- General congratulated the progress that the cradle of the Arab Spring has made in its transition. He highlighted the importance of the Constitution that Tunisia adopted in January of 2014, which he termed as one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world and beyond. He also underscored the necessity of carrying out the upcoming elections in a peaceful environment and in a transparent and credible manner where the results of the elections would be accepted by all citizens.
Mr. Ban also met with the four recently established independent commissions that are charged with addressing sensitive issues such as the elections, transitional justice, anti-corruption and audio-visual media. In this meeting, the Secretary-General stressed the importance of the independence and sustainability of these new institutions created by the new Tunisian Constitution as important pillars of defending and sustaining the democratic gains. Two additional commissions were also created by the constitution but have not yet been established:one intended to focus on human rights and another to address issues of sustainable development and the rights of future generations. The Secretary-General noted the innovation of the commission on sustainable development and linked it to the important challenge of climate change.
As part of his message to the civil society, the Secretary-General also met with a group of eighty activists with whom he had an interactive engagement underscoring the role of civil society not only in having a critical role in starting the Arab spring movement, but also equally importantly, in the transition period, in the national dialogue as well as in the coming period of post elections development that will need to necessarily focus on the remaining challenges of the transition and post transition.
On this font, Mr. Ban emphasized the importance of building on the successes recorded in the political transition and to address the economic challenge of equitable growth, employment creation, and inclusion.
In response to a question on terrorism, the Secretary-General indicated that "military actions might kill terrorists, but economic and political inclusion will eliminate terrorism."
One of the highlights of the visit was Mr. Ban's walk on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, central thoroughfare of the Tunisian capital, which was also the main hub for the demonstrations during the Tunisian Revolution. From the January 14 square (re-named after the date of the Tunisian revolution) until the end of the artery, the Secretary-General and his delegation alongside the Tunisian Prime Minister, enjoyed a 30-minute walk through the traditional souks and shops, which concluded at the Prime Minister's office. Mr. Ban's visit to the city Centre was well-received by Tunisians from all walks of life as a sign of his confidence in the security situation in Tunisia.
The Secretary-General concluded his mission with a town hall meeting with all the UN staff in which he thanked the staff for their dedication, commitment and hard work at the service of the Tunisian people.
All in all a highly successful mission that communicated clearly the support of the SG and the UN to Tunisia and its transition as an important hope for a peaceful democratic transition in a region that is in need of hope.