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At Kenyan slum, Ban Ki-moon pledges to work harder to eradicate poverty

At Kenyan slum, Ban Ki-moon pledges to work harder to eradicate poverty

Ban Ki-moon (right) with Omar al-Bashir
Continuing his visit to Africa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today travelled to Kiberia slum in Nairobi, Kenya – one of the largest on the continent – where he urged residents not to lose hope and pledged to work harder than ever to eradicate global poverty and other social ills.

“I feel very much humbled by what I am seeing now. That makes me resolve again my firm commitment to work for the improvement of the living conditions, education, water, sanitation, housing – all these are the challenges which we must overcome,” Mr. Ban said outside the United Nations offices in Kiberia.

“This is not the only place, I know. There are many other billions of people suffering from lack of affordable housing – all the facilities which make our life decent,” he said. “We must work together and generate political will to have a smooth implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and I will work very closely, and harder than before.”

The eight MDGs, which seek to slash a host of social ills from extreme poverty to improving maternal health all by 2015 were adopted by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000.

Mr. Ban arrived in Kenya from Ethiopia, where he had attended the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, as well as held bilateral meetings with African leaders on the sidelines of the main discussions.

He told reporters after the meetings that his presence in Addis in the first month of his tenure was “a strong sign of the growing partnership between the United Nations and the African Union” and of the high priority he attaches to Africa.

On Darfur, the Secretary-General said that he was pleased that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had welcomed a joint AU-UN mission to Khartoum and Darfur in early February. But he added that he had urged President Bashir, and all parties, to cease hostilities, as an essential foundation for a successful peace process, and humanitarian access.

“No more time can be lost,” the Secretary-General said. “The people of Darfur have waited much too long. This is just unacceptable.”