The international community needs to give more support to the countries of the Andean region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.
In an opening statement to a press conference at the start of the 13th Ibero-American Summit, being held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Mr. Annan said "it would be a grave mistake to leave the people of this region to face" their challenges alone.
He also pledged to personally pay more attention to the Andean region, which he has been visiting on a tour that has taken him to Chile, Ecuador, Peru and now Bolivia.
Mr. Annan said the Andean nations need macroeconomic stability, drastic reductions in poverty and inequality, more effective political participation and a stronger sense of democracy and the rule of law.
The Secretary-General said the international community must offer more social investment in the region through such measures as debt alleviation.
Yesterday, he told Bolivian lawmakers that their responsibilities were global, and not only national. In an address to the National Congress in the capital La Paz, Mr. Annan said, "In an era of accelerating interdependence, your international role is more pivotal than ever."
"Globalization means that States have no choice but to integrate themselves into the global economy. Therefore it is vital that their legislators put in place legal and regulatory frameworks that promote investment and liberate their peoples' creative and entrepreneurial energies," he said.