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‘Now Is the Time to Amplify Voices of the Vulnerable’, to Ensure Vital Development
Pledges Are Met, Secretary-General Says in Message to European Development Days
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to European Development Days, Stockholm, today, 22 October:
I am pleased to greet all those participating in this year’s European Development Days. Your gathering brings together many of the leading voices in global development. This year, you come together at a critical moment ‑‑ a time when the world needs a renewed multilateralism. The themes you have selected ‑‑ climate change, democratic governance and the global recession ‑‑ all highlight the challenges before us.
Climate change ‑‑ and the imperative to reach agreement at the Copenhagen Conference in December ‑‑ is now at the top of the international agenda. Last month, leaders met at the United Nations in New York for history’s largest gathering of world leaders on this issue. We heard important commitments ‑‑ from the European Union, Japan, China and many others. But there is important work ahead and much at stake. Let us maintain the momentum in these vital days running up to Copenhagen.
Let us also recognize the centrality of democratic governance, and its mutually reinforcing relationship with development and human rights. Democracy is both an end in itself and a means to empowering women, giving voice to civil society and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Your focus on it this year is timely and right.
I also thank you for highlighting the need for constant vigilance in the face of the global economic crisis. Despite green shoots of recovery for some, we continue to see red flags of warning for many. We know that, in any recession, those hurt first ‑‑ and worst ‑‑ are the poor. Yet we also know that common sense investments to meet the Millennium Development Goals have made a profound difference. Where global investments have been scaled up ‑‑ as with AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and vaccine-preventable diseases ‑‑ we are seeing heartening progress. These gains also suggest what can be done in areas where progress still lags behind, most notably maternal health.
The United Nations system is responding to the crisis on a number of fronts ‑‑ promoting food security, building a greener economy, ensuring stronger safety nets and putting forward a Global Jobs Pact. We are also developing a Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System ‑‑ GIVAS ‑‑ to create a networked capacity for real-time data collection and analysis. Policies must be driven by a solid picture of developments on the ground.
Now is the time to amplify the voices of the vulnerable and ensure that world leaders follow up on their pledges. Thank you once again for your leadership, commitment and focus on these vital issues for global development. I wish you the best for this truly important gathering.
* *** *For information media • not an official record