29 July 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, as delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, in Tehran today, 29 July:

It gives me great pleasure to send warm greetings and best wishes to this important Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.  The Non-Aligned Movement is a valued partner of the United Nations.  Though formed under markedly different global conditions, your Movement’s perennial concerns, from poverty to justice, remain sources of profound disquiet even today.  Three crises in particular warrant your urgent attention.

First is the development crisis.  We have reached the midpoint in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, yet progress in many countries is off track, particularly in Africa.  We need to uphold the trust that was forged in first agreeing to the Millennium Development Goals.  Developed and developing countries made commitments to each other, as did Governments and their citizens.  Failure to meet these pledges, or at least to improve significantly on the gains to date, would be a terrible blow, with widespread implications for our shared humanity.

Second is the food crisis, which is already turning back the clock on development gains.  I have been calling on world leaders to deliver the full range of immediate needs, from food assistance to seeds and fertilizer for this year’s planting cycle, especially for the world’s 450 million small-scale farmers.  Over the long term, we need to reduce agricultural subsidies in developed countries; reverse the deplorable downward trend in agriculture’s share of official development assistance; reverse years of underinvestment in agriculture and rural development; and successfully conclude the Doha Round of global trade negotiations.  In the broadest sense, we need a global partnership for food; towards that end, I urge you to study and support the Comprehensive Framework for Action developed by my High-Level Task Force on Food Security.

Finally, our work towards the Millennium Development Goals and to food security has also been severely undermined by a third crisis, the climate crisis.  The Bali road map agreed last December represents important progress.  We look now to build on that achievement with concrete outcomes from the Poznan meeting later this year.  Also by the end of this year, we must have a fully financed and operational Adaptation Fund.  We also need enlightened leadership, in particular from the industrialized countries, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.  I will continue to work with leaders of all countries to ensure a successful climate change agreement, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention, by the end of 2009.

These three crises are not isolated problems.  They are interrelated, affect both rich and poor, and require all of us to do our part.  I pledge to marshal the forces of the United Nations behind this effort, and will count on your commitment, leadership and partnership as we move ahead.  In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.

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For information media • not an official record