Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a group of students at United Nations Headquarters today that they live in potentially transformational moment in world history, in which a problem facing one country not only affects other nations but is also connected to other challenges.
Addressing the Global Classrooms Event, sponsored by the UN Association of the United States (UNA-USA), Mr. Ban said that in the past nations could be considered as boats with some vessels riding rough seas while others coasted on still waters.
“A war in one country might not have any effect on another. Hunger in one region would have little to do with hurricanes in another part of the world,” said Mr. Ban. In today’s world, however, “we are all together in the same boat.”
Conflict in one country can spark terrorism thousands of miles away, noted the Secretary-General. “Hunger and hurricanes are both affected by global warming, and as we saw recently, a cough in one village can spark fear of a flu pandemic across the planet.”
He stressed that it is not enough to realize that countries have to join forces in the face of global threats. “We need to address all of these threats at once.”
Poverty, hunger, climate change, energy security, economic prosperity and political security are all closely linked challenges.
“That is why leaders must carefully consider the global implications of their decisions,” said Mr. Ban. “If we calibrate actions based on the big picture, then we can get good results.”
Investing in “green growth” can stimulate the economy while at the same time protect the environment, and the elimination of weapon would enhance national security and free up money needed to end poverty. “We can empower women so that all of society benefits,” he said. “And we can start making these changes right now.”