Secretary-General heading to Trinidad and Tobago for Americas summit

17 April 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is departing today for the Caribbean archipelago nation of Trinidad and Tobago, where he will address dozens of heads of State and Government at the fifth Summit of the Americas tomorrow.

In his remarks to a working luncheon in the capital, Port of Spain, Mr. Ban will focus on sustainability, one of the Summit’s themes, a UN spokesperson said today.

If not handled properly, the economic crisis that has spread across the globe could turn into a full-scale political crisis, marked by social unrest, weakened governments and the loss of faith by people in their leaders and their future, he is expected to tell the leaders.

The Secretary-General will refer to the impact of climate change on the Americas, ranging from the melting of Andean glaciers, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and rising sea levels threatening small Caribbean island nations.

In his address, he is also expected to emphasize the need to protect populations, including indigenous peoples, and to create financial incentives to preserve forests and the livelihoods of those depending on them. Addressing climate change will boost the economy, creating ‘green’ jobs to spur green growth.

From Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Ban will return to New York before departing for the Durban Review Conference, which begins on 20 April in Geneva. That gathering seeks to assess progress and implementation thus far of the landmark 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), which aims to combat racism.


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