Science for a sustainable future

Today we had a visit from Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. This is Mr Ban’s second visit to our laboratory, but his first since CERN was granted Observer status at the United Nations General Assembly last December. It therefore gave us our first opportunity to discuss joint initiatives already under way.


Our discussions focused on CERN’s contribution to science-related UN activities, and in particular those of the UN’s Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, whose focus for 2013 is on leveraging science, technology, innovation and culture for a sustainable future. CERN will be taking part in ECOSOC meetings in Geneva in July, and we will be contributing on the theme of young women in science to ECOSOC’s Youth Forum on 27 March. Mr Ban and I also discussed the role of the Secretary-General’s recently established science advisory board.

During his brief visit, Mr Ban became one of our first visitors to see some of the underground areas at CERN during LS1. We also talked about changes since his last visit in 2008. As you can imagine, there was much to discuss. Finally, he visited UNOSAT, the UN’s remote sensing programme that delivers satellite-derived analysis data to international humanitarian and development agencies. Hosted at CERN since 2002, UNOSAT is a well-established model of what can be achieved when CERN and the UN work together.

Rolf Heuer