20 October 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11871
AFR/1756

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

LET US CONSOLIDATE, DEEPEN OUR COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIP, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES


IN REMARKS TO PAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE OF RED CROSS, RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the seventh Pan-African Conference of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as delivered by Cheick Sidi Diarra, High Representative of the Secretary-General for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, in Johannesburg, South Africa, today, 20 October:


It is a great pleasure to send greetings to all the participants in this annual conference.  Having been a Red Cross volunteer myself, I am a keen observer of your work.  I was also the beneficiary of a Red Cross scholarship in the United States.  So I have seen, at first hand, the importance of your work.


When disaster strikes, the International Federation is often first on the scene.  Whether flood, drought or earthquake, you provide immediate, life-saving assistance.  Thanks to your courage and willingness to work in dangerous conditions, millions of people have been able to survive wrenching calamity.  I salute your achievements and commitment to the well-being of people in need throughout the world.


The United Nations and the International Federation are good, close partners.  The major humanitarian challenges at the top of your agenda -- including climate change, international migration, urban violence and disease -- are also priorities for the United Nations.  Our work is truly complementary.


We also share a commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Indeed, empowering the weak and vulnerable, providing decent work for all and winning the fight to eradicate extreme poverty are among our best bets for protecting against the impact of disasters.


Last month’s meetings at the United Nations hold important promise towards that end.  At high-level events on the Millennium Development Goals and Africa’s needs, we brought together a broad coalition encompassing Governments, civil society, the private sector and the philanthropic community.  We created and strengthened partnerships, launched new initiatives and generated significant financial commitments to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  This was all the more remarkable considering the gathering impact of the global financial crisis.


We must build on these efforts.  Let us consolidate and deepen the global partnership, so that we can better serve the millions who depend on our help and support, and put the world on a more equitable and sustainable path to development.  I commend the leadership of my good friend Secretary-General Bekele Geleta, and look forward to working more closely together.  In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.


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For information media • not an official record