UN – The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has urged Heads of State and Government to respond to the demands of their people for human dignity and sustainable development.
Declaring open the UN General Assembly 68th session at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, he said “leadership makes the difference to hear the call of history and through hard work, commitment and integrity. ’’
“We come together not to preserve the status quo, but to drive our world forward,” Ban said.
He challenged member states to take bold steps and work together to tackle a host of concerns from crafting a post-2015 sustainability agenda to agreeing on a new climate change regime and bringing parties in Syria to the negotiating table to end nearly three years of bloodshed.
“In the streets and squares across the world, people are pressing those in power. They want you, the world’s leaders, to listen.
“They want to know that we are doing all it takes to secure a life of dignity for all,” the UN chief said as he delivers his annual report on the work of the Organisation.
While noting that the current era was one of wondrous opportunity, Ban said that the pressures on the planet and
people are building.
“Young people are without jobs; the world’s climate is warming; and scattered conflicts remained unresolved.
“Events are moving with 21st century speed often outpacing the efforts of institutions and systems built for another
age,” he added, stressing that for more than a decade, the end of the year 2015 had been on the horizon.
“What once seemed a distant moment is now just around the corner. It is the year by which the world has pledged to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and in which the international community will adopt a new development agenda.
“It is also the year in which stakeholders have agreed to complete a global legal agreement on climate change. 2015 is a historic opportunity that the MDGs captured the imagination, generated remarkable gains and beat back doubts
“Yet on some goals, we lag badly,” he said, noting that inequality was growing, and that too many people face exploitation from the fields to the factory floor.
According to the scribe, a new development agenda must be as inspiring as the MDGs, but that it must go further.
He called for a universal framework with ending poverty as a top priority, sustainable development at its core and governance as its glue.
Turning to climate change, the Secretary-General said the impacts of the phenomenon “threatens all our development gains,” adding that indeed, the rising human and economic toll affects everyone, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people harmed “first and worst”.
He challenged member states to bring bold pledges to the summit that would help close the “emissions gap” and put
the world on track for an ambitious legal agreement through the UN Climate Change Convention framework.
“Let us seize the 2015 challenge: a final push for the MDGs, new direction on energy and climate and an inspiring
new development framework,” he declared. (NAN)