Secretary-General signs up to global call to arms to defeat poverty

25 September 2008
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at OXFAM "In MY Name: End Poverty Campaign" awareness event

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today joined celebrities, dignitaries and anti-poverty activists from around the world in signing his name on a glass wall outside United Nations Headquarters in New York as part of a global initiative to raise pressure on governments to accelerate their efforts to end poverty.

“I am proud to have added my name to this pledge wall, a powerful symbol in our mobilization to make poverty history,” Mr. Ban said after writing his name this morning on the plexiglass wall during the launch of the “In My Name” initiative.

Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, Bollywood star Rahul Bose, the model and actress Elle Macpherson and the singer Angelique Kidjo were among those who also participated in the launch, while the hip-hop singer performed a new song composed for the event.

“In My Name” has been organized by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Oxfam, Save the Children, Comic Relief and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, and aims to hold governments to the pledges they made at a UN summit in 2000 to eliminate or drastically reduce poverty and associated deprivation by 2015.

“I signed my name as a citizen of Korea, but above all as a citizen of the world,” Mr. Ban added. “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will be taking your message back to the many world leaders I am meeting here this week. I am determined to push them to keep the promises their governments made here eight years ago.”

The Millennium Declaration adopted at the UN summit in 2000 vowed to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.”

Mr. Ban – whose signing of the wall will be part of a video to be posted on YouTube –noted today that “this is a profound pledge which will be even more meaningful when we fulfil it.” A video from will also invite members of the online audience to submit their video signatures showing support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


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