No country, however, powerful, can tackle alone the multiple challenges facing the world, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, stressing the need to work together on issues such as climate change, the economic crisis and global peace and security.
“We are all in this together. And we must act together,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the Hellenic Parliament, becoming the first UN Secretary-General to address the body.
“That is why I say it is time for renewed multilateralism – a multilateralism that delivers for real people in real time,” he added.
Mr. Ban, who wrapped up his two-day visit to Athens today, highlighted climate change as one area where countries can work together to make a difference.
“These are crucial days,” he noted, with only four weeks to go until the climate change conference in Copenhagen, where countries are expected to wrap up talks on an ambitious new agreement to tackle global warming.
“We must have a global agreement – an agreement which is comprehensive, balanced, equitable and binding,” he stated.
Likewise, all members of the international community should work together to spread economic opportunity more widely, he said, noting that the “clock is ticking” on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the set of global anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.
In addition, united action can help strengthen global peace and security, including in the area of disarmament, as well as successfully address long-standing regional concerns.
In this regard, Mr. Ban reiterated that he is “cautiously optimistic” about prospects for a settlement in Cyprus, noting the steady progress being made in UN-backed talks between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders aimed at unifying the Mediterranean island.
He said he was also encouraged by the Greek Government’s clear endorsement of a continuing role for the UN in the negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the dispute over the latter’s name.
“Now is the time for transformational change on all of these big issues,” said the Secretary-General. “This is our chance. Now is our time to act.”