8 February 2010

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

Secretary-General, in Message to Munich Security Conference, Adds Hunger,

Pandemics, Chronic Poverty to List of Traditional Global Threats

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the Munich Security Conference on 6 February:

Guten Tag, meine Damen und Herren.  I send you my warmest greetings and regret that I cannot join you in person.

The disaster in Haiti has engaged all of our attention.  The tragedy is all the greater because it came at a time when Haiti was making progress. 

During my visit, I met many ordinary Haitians.  They were very clear about what they need:  food; water; medicine; and tents.  But even more, they told me, they need jobs.

The “cash-for-work” plan that the United Nations Development Programme has set in motion seeks to put 200,000 people back to work over the next six months.  We can do that for a modest sum, $40 million, $5 per person, per day. 

All those young men and women living in mounting desperation can get to work rebuilding their lives.  Haiti’s recovery begins with putting its own people back to work.

This is not a purely humanitarian question.  It is a matter of international security, one of the reasons you are in Munich today.  Traditional threats such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation and war continue to challenge all of us -- exacting a terrible cost in lives and resources.  But we also face a new constellation of twenty-first-century threats.

There are now an unprecedented one billion hungry people in our world.  In recent years, we have seen food riots in dozens of countries.  Climate change, if present trends continue, will give us more extreme weather, more natural disasters, arable lands turned to desert, societies pushed to the brink.

Pandemics, too, not only kill people -- they make families and societies less resilient, less productive, and more fragile.  Chronic poverty.  The worst economic downturn in generations.  These, too, are emergencies.  They may not strike with the concentrated force of an earthquake.  Yet they tear societies apart.  They spill across borders. And they call for global action.

That is why I want 2010 to be a year in which we mount a global campaign for the Millennium Development Goals.  That is why I have called for a summit in New York in September.

The United Nations wants to deliver for nations and peoples in need.  From development to peacekeeping, from prevention to post-conflict peacebuilding, from human rights to the rule of law, we are ready to deliver on the threats of today and those of tomorrow.

As the slogan of your Conference states, there can be “no more excuses”!

Thank you, and I hope to see you in Munich next year.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record