Cooperation is crucial in addressing the current global issues, including the economic crisis and climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed to an international gathering of parliamentarians today in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“No country is immune from the fallout of the current crises,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the 120th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). “Now is the time for global solidarity.”
The world faces “serious, unprecedented challenges,” with the global recession seemingly growing worse by the day and climate change jeopardizing the planet's future, he noted. The food crisis still looms large for hundreds of millions of people, while extremism, political instability and nuclear proliferation are also cause for great concern.
Further, Mr. Ban said, the economic crisis could roll back development gains, with the possibility that people could lose faith in their leaders and their future. “We could be on the brink of widespread social unrest,” he added.
“Such grave problems can only be solved by nations working together,” the Secretary-General said in his address, delivered by Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
At the Group of 20 (G-20) summit last Friday in London, he said that he had called for a sizeable stimulus plan, reforming global rules and institutions, and rallying against protectionism.
A 'green' new deal is essential to spur economic growth, the Secretary-General underscored, with addressing climate change, even in the face of hard economic times, being absolutely essential. He also stressed the need for nations to reach agreement this December at a UN climate change conference in Copenhagen on an ambitious successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.
“We need legislators such as you to help with implementation of that hoped-for deal at the national level,” he said at the gathering, which will wrap up on 10 April.
“Parliamentarians play a crucial role across this agenda,” Mr. Ban emphasized, telling participants that they are “change agents, well placed to build bridges between the local and the global.”
The UN is very cognizant of the role of parliamentarians in world affairs, as well as of its partnership with the IPU, he said, noting that the General Assembly has encouraged the IPU to strengthen its contributions to such UN bodies as the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council.