As the world contends with numerous crises, ranging from food insecurity and climate change to financial uncertainty and the development challenge, leadership and partnership are more important than ever to tackle today’s most pressing issues, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message marking United Nations Day.
“This is a crucial year in the life of our United Nations,” Mr. Ban noted, on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the Organization.
“We have just passed the midpoint in the struggle to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he said, referring to the pledges world leaders made to halve extreme poverty and other ills by the target date of 2015.
Mr. Ban pointed out that many countries are still not on track to reach the Goals on time. It was to address this development emergency that he brought together a broad coalition for change consisting of Governments, private sector leaders and civil society last month in New York, which generated “unprecedented” commitment in pledges and partnerships to help the world’s poor.
He also expressed deep concern about the impact of the global financial crisis, which was the subject of a brainstorming session the Secretary-General held yesterday with five eminent economists and the head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Talks focused on “the international economic situation and, in particular, on the special challenges facing the developing countries in the context of the worldwide financial crisis and its likely consequences,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
During the discussion with Nancy Birdsall of the Centre for Global Development, Dani Rodrik and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University, and Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, Mr. Ban stressed the need to keep the long-term objectives – such as the MDGs and the fight against extreme poverty, as well as the need for action against climate change – at the centre of the global agenda.
The financial crisis will also be discussed today at the regular meeting of the Chief Executives Board (CEB), which includes the heads of the various UN specialized agencies and by the chiefs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), otherwise known as the Bretton Woods institutions.
“Never has leadership and partnership been more important,” Mr. Ban stressed. “We can see more clearly than ever that the threats of the twenty-first century spare no one. Climate change, the spread of disease and deadly weapons, and the scourge of terrorism all cross borders.”
Global partnership has resulted in significant advances, he said, such as in the case of malaria, thanks to focused planning, greater funding, coordinated management and excellent science and technology.
“Partnership is the way of the future,” he stated, pointing to the success achieved in combating the disease. “We need models like these to tackle other challenges.
“Let us keep building on this as a way forward. There is no time to lose,” he said. “The United Nations must deliver results for a safer, healthier, more prosperous world. On this UN Day, I call on all partners and leaders to do their part and keep the promise.”