Ahead of talks with World Bank, Ban briefs press at UN Headquarters
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed correspondents in New York today on a range of issues before beginning two days of top-level meetings in Washington tomorrow aimed at stepping up cooperation between the United Nations and the World Bank, the institution dedicated to providing financial and technical aid to developing countries around the world.
The talks with the World Bank will focus on four main areas, he said – education, climate change and sustainable energy, poverty, and the role of development banks.
“First is education: one of the smartest investments we can make in the world’s future well-being,” Mr. Ban said, while calling the second issue, climate change and sustainable energy, a crisis in the making, with sustainable energy a major part of any solution.
On poverty, he noted that “remarkable progress” has been achieved towards attaining the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their target date of 2015 but much remains to do be done in the final 1,000-day lap “and we must make this period one of action.”
The MDGs, adopted by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000, seek to slash a host of social evils, including extreme poverty and hunger, diseases and lack of access to health care and universal primary education, all by 2015.
On the development, Mr. Ban noted that for the first time he will be meeting meet the heads of all the world’s leading development banks “to strengthen our partnership on financing and in the key area of statistics.”
He noted that his meetings will coincide with the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with presidents, prime ministers, finance ministers and others in attendance “that we hope to turn into high-level political support for the Millennium Development Goals.”
Mr. Ban will be accompanied by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson who “will use his time to highlight the crucial issues of sanitation and the rule of law.”
The 188-member country World Bank, established in 1944 and headquartered in Washington, comprises two institutions managed by 188 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).
The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses exclusively on the world’s poorest countries.