United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has once more called for united global response to global challenges such as action to fight extreme poverty and hunger, confront climate change and eliminate nuclear weapons.
‘I ask all of you to support the United Nations where action is urgently and especially needed,’ said the UN chief, repeating his call for the UN to play a role in coordinating global governance – finding solutions to problems that affect more than one state or region when there is no power of enforcing compliance.
The Secretary General made the call while addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 19 October 2010on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights, saying the United Nations and the European Union (EU) are partners in tackling the multiple crises facing the world today.
‘No nation, no group, no region can do it alone (solve global challenges). If we share in the burden, we will share in the benefits,’ he said, citing what he said were concerns and fears of real people. ‘Jobs are scarce. Tensions are high. People are hurting, angry, disillusioned. That has led to an erosion of trust in institutions, in leaders, and among neighbours.’
The Secretary General said that there was the growing understanding of the need for solidarity in the face of global challenges. ‘Country after country, leader after leader, is coming to recognize that the best way to address our challenges is by taking them on together, he told the EU legislature.
Outlining the ‘three great goals’ for joint action, he noted that major progress has been made in combating extreme poverty and hunger, but achievements are uneven, with world trade talks stagnating and locking in place harmful subsidies and an unfair regime that deny developing countries new opportunities, and rising prices putting essential medicines out of reach of many of the neediest.
‘We must focus on employment-centred growth – decent work. Investment in clean and renewable energy is crucial for jumpstarting jobs and innovation,’ he said.
On climate change, he noted that scientists warn that recent extreme weather in many countries, such as raging fires in Russia and epic floods in Pakistan, could be the opening act on our future. ‘We must always be careful however about linking specific weather events to climate change,’ he declared. ‘But neither should we avert our eyes from what is plain to see. The message is clear: the more we delay, the more we will pay – in competitiveness, in resources, in lives.’
The Secretary General called on all parties to show flexibility and on developed countries to provide their fair share of the $30 billion in fast-track financing pledged at the climate conference in Copenhagen for 2010-2012 to help developing countries adapt to climate change.
‘Europe has been a historic engine of growth and change,’ he said. ‘Now, when governments are not moving when the train has hit the buffers in our talks on climate change or other issues – Europe can be the locomotive, driving it forward. You can push, you can pull, you can get the train back on track. You can keep us moving in the right direction.’
On the third goal of achieving a nuclear weapons-free world, he cited a new momentum in fulfilling commitments.
‘This progress will continue if, and only if, the voices of the people are fully reflected in national and regional issues. And if the half billion voices in the European Union speak out in harmony on this issue – joined by voices from other regions,’ he added. ‘Let us move beyond our over-armed and under-developed age to a more secure world for all.’
In a meeting with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, Mr. Ban discussed climate change and the upcoming conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancún, Mexico. He also expressed his appreciation for the EU’s ‘invaluable support to the UN agenda through financial support and other means’.
Enjoy this article? Receive free e-mail alerts when new articles are available. Just click the “Subscribe” button above.