9 September 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12443

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

Secretary-General, Receiving Keys to Mexico City, Commends Its ‘Green Plan’,

 

Efforts to Cope with Challenges of Rapid Urbanization

 


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks upon receiving the Keys to Mexico City on 8 September:


I am proud to have been named a distinguished guest.  It is a particular privilege to be given this honour.  I take this as a sign of your strong support for the United Nations ‑‑ and for its global mission of peace, justice and human rights.


Indeed we share a wide range of goals, from alleviating poverty to combating climate change.  We are together on numerous United Nations causes.  La Ciudad de Mexico is one of the world’s most vibrant cities.  Its history, culture, art and architecture have long been famous across the globe.


But today Mexico City is making its mark in another way.  It is at the forefront of social issues and human rights.  It is showing a strong commitment to the well-being of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized.  The city has also adopted an ambitious yet achievable “green plan”, including action on climate change, water, waste, energy and much more.  These steps have enormous potential for achieving sustainable development.


Like other major cities around the world, Mexico is coping with the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing world.  Slums and sprawl.  Job creation.  Water for all.  Pollution and the impact of natural disasters.


As the Mayor just mentioned, I just visited the Golden Valley.  The floods affected the Valley, I have seen.  I have met so many people that have been affected by these sudden floods.  I was so sad.  I went together with President [Felipe] Calderón to express my deepest sympathy to all those people and to send my solidarity ‑‑ solidarity from myself and solidarity from the United Nations.


I said to them that, in close coordination with the Mexican Government, the United Nations will mobilize the necessary humanitarian assistance and try to rebuild.  Some people were expressing their utmost frustration, even complaints and anger at their Government.  I have a deep trust and confidence in President Calderón and his Government’s capacity to make that town much better than even before it was affected by this flood.


The United Nations is working very hard to prevent, to get risk reductions. It is very important to addressing climate change and sustainable development.  How well are we prepared to have disaster risk reductions that will make a quick difference?


I know that this will give you good lessons, and this lesson should not be repeated.  As we learn from this disaster, we should make improvements, and I am going to work together with the Mexican Government and many other Governments, to raise a follow-up to these natural disasters.


Mr. Mayor, I understand that in your approach to [different] challenges you are trying to recover public space, parks space, even the city’s air.  The United Nations will continue to be your partner in moving towards a greener and more prosperous future.  I thank you for your commitment to improving the lives of all who live here in Mexico City.


I thank you for the honour. It is a great honour you have bestowed on me, and through me, on the United Nations.  And I am very grateful to the Government and people of Mexico for their great contribution in terms of development, in terms of financial support, in terms of promoting human rights.


You have taken a great [initiative] in making this green economy and President Calderón has been a leader, a champion in addressing climate change.  I have invited him to the Summit meeting which will be held on 22 September at the United Nations and I am looking forward to working very closely with President Calderón and your Government, the City of Mexico, under the leadership of the Mayor.  And I hope that one day, like a good, progressive Mexicano, I will be able to follow your good example and bike through Reforma Avenue and the Park of Chapultepec!


* *** *


For information media • not an official record