Big cities like New York are on the frontlines of the climate threat as well as engines of innovation, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, welcoming Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to “green” the “city that never sleeps” and to pursue a framework for sustainable urban areas.
“Big cities like New York generate and create some problems, but at this home of innovation, we can find solutions from this great city,” declared the UN chief following a meeting with Mayor de Blasio this afternoon at City Hall in downtown Manhattan.
The Secretary-General welcomed the Mayors’ pledge for making New York a “green” city and also his framework for sustainable cities, which Mr. Ban flagged as a “very important innovative initiative.”
With these and other measures in mind, Mr. Ban said he has invited Mayor de Blasio to the UN climate change summit, which will be held at Headquarters on 23 September. “I hope you will bring your ambitious visions for climate change to the Member States, so that the many cities around the world can emulate your leadership and vision,” he told the city’s top political official.
“And I really appreciate your initiative in organizing New York Climate Week,” continued Mr. Ban, pledging to participate during the event.
He went on to say that he and the Mayor, who assumed his post on 1 January 2014, had discussed a host of other issues, including, how large cities and the wider United Nations can work on emergency preparedness and also on reducing risks from disasters.
“I’m very glad that the Office of Emergency Management of New York City and the United Nations Emergency Preparedness Support Team have already been working very closely on this matter,” said the Secretary-General adding that the UN has also tried to be helpful with post Super Storm Sandy recovery.
Mr. Ban said the United Nations draws great inspiration from its home in New York. “UN staff love living here because like New Yorkers, they are wonderfully diverse. New York is the city that never sleeps; the United Nations works around the clock, around the world, to address global challenges.”
Looking beyond Manhattan’s famed skyline, the UN chief said that at a time of “test and transformation for the entire world” the UN is working to end the bloodshed in Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Mali and Libya, and also working very hard to help de-escalate tension in Ukraine.
“This is something which we have discussed during our meeting and you can count on us. At the same time, we count on the [United States] US leadership of President Barack Obama and other world leaders on these matters,” said Mr. Ban, expressing determination to deepen global foundations of peace and security through our efforts to advance development, create decent jobs and protect human rights.
“I know these are among the hopes and hallmarks of your new administration,” he told Mayor de Blasio, adding that success in New York can send a powerful message around the world because you are a centre for economy, social development and innovation.
“You know the famous saying: if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere,” declared Mr. Ban.