The world’s major industrialized nations must take the lead in efforts to tackle the three interrelated crises of global food insecurity, climate change and development in poor countries, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today on the eve of an official trip that will include his participation in next month’s G-8 summit in Japan.
“If ever there were a time to act, together as one, it is now,” Mr. Ban told journalists at United Nations Headquarters in New York, a day before he departs for the two-week visit to Japan, the Republic of Korea and China.
“Seldom has the global community been under such stress. The ties that bind us, as humankind, are fraying. We must work especially hard to preserve them, at this critical juncture, in the interests of our common future.”
Mr. Ban said it was “no exaggeration to say that we face three crises, all interrelated and demanding our immediate action,” with the problems caused by soaring food prices the most pressing.
At the G-8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan, from 7 to 9 July, the Secretary-General said he would appeal to world leaders to deliver on the measures they agreed to under a road map drawn up at a major international meeting in Rome earlier this month.
“It calls on nations to remove export restrictions and levies on food commodities and reduce agricultural subsidies, particularly in developed countries,” he said, adding that the proportion of official development assistance (ODA) for agricultural production and rural development should be trebled.
Climate change is no less immediate a concern, Mr. Ban said, urging world leaders to press forward from the achievements of last year’s conference in Bali to devise a lasting agreement on greenhouse gas emissions by next year.
“In Hokkaido, I will ask for short- and medium-term targets for reducing greenhouse gases. It is not enough to talk of change by 2050. If we want real change, we must begin now – with targets for real progress by 2020.”
A fully funded and operational adaptation fund, to help the world’s most vulnerable nations cope with climate change, must be in place by the end of this year, according to Mr. Ban, who also called for concrete steps to transfer the latest low-carbon technologies to poor States.
The Secretary-General said that climate change and the global food crisis are slowing and in some cases reversing the progress made towards the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which world leaders have agreed to strive to achieve by 2015.
“In Hokkaido we must deliver on our commitments. I will also seek increased funding for specific programmes relating to infant and maternal health, community health projects and disease control – HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases.”