While praising the significant progress made in strengthening regional cooperation and in pursuing greater economic and social integration among Latin American and Caribbean countries, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a United Nations-backed meeting that now is the time to mobilize further action.
“A commitment to building for the future unites the region of Latin America and the Caribbean,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the Unity Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in the Mexican city of Cancun.
In the message, delivered by Alicia Barcena, Executive-Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Mr. Ban highlighted the significant progress made in the region despite the global economic downturn.
Latin America and the Caribbean have bounced back faster than expected from the global financial crisis with growth projected at over 4 per cent this year, according to ECLAC’s annual report released in December.
“You have shown leadership in addressing these challenges and the world has much to learn from your many examples of success in economic recovery and protection for the vulnerable,” the Secretary-General stated.
As a sign of regional cooperation, Mr. Ban commended the 25 heads of State and government participating in the Summit for their “extraordinary support to the people of Haiti” by responding “swiftly and generously” to provide troops, police and other vital support.
Ongoing challenges include climate change, which Mr. Ban called a “clear and present danger.” He expressed his support to the Government of Mexico which was not only hosting this summit, but would host the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) scheduled for November of this year.
He also noted a special summit on the Millennium Development Goals – a set of internationally agreed targets to eradicate poverty and other social ills by 2015 – to be held in September in New York to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly.
“I invite you to personally participate in this important event,” the Secretary-General said in the message.
He added that the UN will continue to support the work carried out in the region. “I am honoured to reaffirm my commitment, and that of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, to working closely with you to strengthen our partnership for the people of the entire region,” said Mr. Ban.