Sunday, August 21, 2011

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Sustainable development will remain top priority

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that sustainable development will remain his top priority during his second term as the head of the United Nations, saying that key challenges include achieving the global poverty reduction goals and strengthening disaster risk reduction to avert crises caused by climate change.

The General Assembly in June agreed to appoint Mr. Ban to a second consecutive term as Secretary-General. “Since my re-election, I have been consulting widely with Member States and the full range of UN partners on what they see as the great challenges going forward,” Mr. Ban told members of the diplomatic corps in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. “Looking to the longer horizon, sustainable development is at the top of my list of priorities,” he said.

Mr. Ban stated that global and regional security and democratization challenges will also feature prominently on his agenda. “We are supporting the transitions that are under way in Egypt and Tunisia, and are deeply engaged in the diplomatic efforts aimed at a solution to the conflict in Libya.” However, he pointed out that the most immediate concern was the humanitarian crisis brought on by the severe drought in the Horn of Africa which has led to famine in several areas of Somalia and made an estimated 12.4 million people in the wider region dependent on food aid.

“As we respond to this emergency, we also need to deal with the underlying causes. Today’s drought may be the worst in decades, but with the effects of climate change being increasingly felt throughout the world, it surely will not be the last,” said Mr. Ban, adding that long-term solutions would require the development of drought-resistant seeds, irrigation, rural infrastructure and livestock programmes. The Secretary-General emphasized that in an era of budgetary constraints, the UN must continue to fulfil its mandates with the resources available. “That means continuing our efforts to ‘deliver as one’,” he said.

Source: Greening the Blue
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