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In 2008, UN to embark on new course to tackle challenges – Ban Ki-moon

In 2008, UN to embark on new course to tackle challenges – Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at the opening of the Regional Groups Meeting
This year, the United Nations will put itself on a new track to tackle the obstacles it faces – ranging from development to health to terrorism – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said.

“The United Nations has proven, at various stages of its history, that it is capable of remaking itself to rise to new challenges,” he told the world body’s five regional groups.

“2008 should be a watershed year for putting the UN on a new track,” he added. “I will do my utmost to ensure that this happens – by delivering results, strengthening the Organization through full accountability, and advancing the global common good by securing global public goods.”

Since the midpoint to 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight targets to slash a host of social ills – has passed, “we face a development emergency,” with millions trapped in poverty and going hungry, Mr. Ban said.

He said that he intends to convene a high-level meeting on the MDGs this September in an effort to bridge the implementation gap.

However, change must take place within the UN itself, the Secretary-General said, noting that “we need a more coherent, focused, and reinvigorated approach.”

The Organization will face new challenges in peacekeeping this year, with its rising complexity, risk level and scale, he pointed out.

The recent deployment of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan (UNAMID), set to be the world body’s largest with a full force of 26,000, is an immediate priority for the UN, Mr. Ban said.

“The conduct of operations, and the technical means to support them, need to be brought to par with the vast demands place don them in the 21st century,” he observed.

In the realm of politics, 2008 will not be easy for the world body, the Secretary-General said, with the fragile Middle East peace processes, the emergence of Iraq from conflict Kosovo’s future status being among the challenges the UN will face.

Bolstering the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) by increasing its field orientation and making it more pro-active, he said, is crucial to strengthening the Organization’s capacity for preventive diplomacy and put in place a more integrated UN approach to responding to conflict and supporting sustainable peace processes.

“We must deliver results for a more just world,” Mr. Ban noted.