In Washington, Ban Ki-moon urges support for global development goals

In Washington, Ban Ki-moon urges support for global development goals

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Following talks today in Washington with United States President George W. Bush, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of reaching global anti-poverty targets and said a strong partnership between the world body and its host country is key to achieving shared goals.

Speaking to reporters following their 90-minute meeting, Mr. Ban said he has been working to make the UN “a more trusty, transparent, accountable and more effective organization” and pledged to continue that effort. He also said regional hotspots such as Darfur, Lebanon, Myanmar and Kenya are high on the agenda. “There are so many problems that challenge us at this time; I'm committed to address these issues.”

At the same time, Mr. Ban pointed to his efforts to meet global challenges such as climate change. “And I need your strong support as we are going through this year, a midpoint year, to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015,” he said, citing in particular the needs of Africa.

Toward that end, he said President Bush's upcoming visit to the continent “will be very important and historic,” voicing hope that he would “discuss with African leaders on how to achieve these Millennium Development Goals, how to help people overcome abject poverty, and sanitation [problems] and [gain] access to educational opportunities. “

Mr. Ban wished the US President success, calling his trip “a very great opportunity.”

He emphasized the need to sustain the momentum established in December last year at the UN Conference on Climate Change, pledging to work for a globally accepted framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which contains legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions but will expire in 2012.

“The United States is the country with the most ability for technology and financing capacities. I count on your leadership and active participation,” said Mr. Ban.

“All in all, I need your strong support, because I believe a strong partnership between the United Nations and United States is the crucial element in carrying out my duty as Secretary-General, and also in making the United Nations a stronger organization in carrying out the common challenges we share together.”

According to a UN spokesperson, during their meeting, the two leaders discussed UN reform, “with the Secretary-General briefing President Bush on his efforts to promote transparency and accountability at the UN.” They also discussed climate change, the MDGs in an African context, Darfur, Kenya Myanmar, Kosovo, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.