Ban pledges UN commitment to tackle development, food and climate crises

Ban pledges UN commitment to tackle development, food and climate crises

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged to “marshal the forces” of the United Nations behind efforts to solve three related emergencies that he said are causing profound disquiet around the world – the crises over food, climate and development.

In a message to the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations (NAM), held in Tehran, Mr. Ban said he would count on the “commitment, leadership and partnership” of NAM in the battle to overcome the crises.

“These three crises are not isolated problems,” he said in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG). “They are inter-related, affect both rich and poor, and require all of us to do our part.”

Turning first to the development crisis, Mr. Ban noted that many countries – especially in sub-Saharan Africa – lag behind in their attempts to achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

“We need to uphold the trust that was forged in first agreeing to the MDGs. Developed and developing countries made commitments to each other, as did governments and their citizens. Failure to meet these pledges, or at least to improve significantly on the gains to date, would be a terrible blow, with widespread implications for our shared humanity.”

He stressed that the food crisis is exacerbating the problem by “already turning back the clock on development gains,” particularly for the world’s poorest, such as hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers.

“Over the long term, we need to reduce agricultural subsidies in developed countries; reverse the deplorable downward trend in agriculture’s share of official development assistance; reverse years of under-investment in agriculture and rural development; and successfully conclude the Doha round of global trade negotiations.”

The crisis caused by global warming is also severely undermining food security and progress towards the MDGs, the Secretary-General noted, calling for concrete outcomes at an international meeting slated for Poznan, Poland, later this year to build on commitments made in Bali, Indonesia, last December.

“We also need enlightened leadership, in particular from the industrialized countries, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”