Ban presses G20 leaders to maintain commitment to help world’s most vulnerable

18 September 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written to the leaders of the so-called Group of 20 (G20) industrialized nations to cement their commitment to help the world’s most vulnerable who are bearing the brunt of the global economic turmoil.

In his letter to the leaders ahead of their gathering next week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States, Mr. Ban exhorted them to deliver on the $1.1 trillion pledge – especially the $50 billion earmarked for the poorest nations – made in London earlier this year

He also called on them to honour their official development assistance (ODA) commitments made in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005, of $155 billion by next year, with over one-third of that allotted for Africa.

Action must be accelerated to achieve the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said the letter. While strides have been made in areas where global investments have been scaled up, including AIDS and tuberculosis, progress is lagging in education, maternal health, smallholder agriculture and basic infrastructure.

The Secretary-General also urged progress on the fight against climate change through the setting up of a fair financing mechanism to provide $250 billion annually by 2020, in addition to ODA.

Investment in green technologies is vital in pulling the world out of the economic crisis, he stressed, as is governance to manage this new finance stream which must be directed to adaptation and mitigations at the national level.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Secretary-General said that despite talk of recovery from the international financial crisis which has marked its first anniversary, “we are still not out of the deep woods – and this crisis is layered upon the food crisis and the pandemic crisis.”

With over 100 million people expected to drop below the poverty line this year, he emphasized that we “simply must amplify the voices of the vulnerable and ensure that the world follows up on its pledges.”

In Pittsburgh, Mr. Ban will update the G20 leaders on the UN’s new Global Impact and Vulnerability System (GIVAS), which will deliver real-time data on the impacts of the economic turmoil on the world’s poor.

“To make the right policy responses, we must know, in real time, what is happening on the ground,” he said.

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