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Better Global Governance Needed to Help Most Vulnerable, Stave Off Climate Change,
Meet ‘New Generation’ Challenges, Says Secretary-General in Marrakesh
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s address to the World Policy Conference organized by the French Institute of International Relations in Marrakesh, 16 October:
I am delighted to be making my first visit to Morocco as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Thank you all — including His Majesty Mohammed VI for his message, the Government and people of Morocco — for your hospitality and warm welcome.
I also thank the Institute of International Relations for bringing us together. IFRI has been an important presence for many years now. I am grateful for all you do to promote dialogue and better understanding of global challenges.
I am especially pleased that this year’s World Policy Conference focuses on global governance.
Governance is among the leading issues of our time. Better governance within states — delivery for people. Better governance among them — delivery for the world.
The question is this: can we deliver?
At a time when many of the governed are unhappy and impatient, the international community faces a real test of its capacity and will.
Global governance was rightly one of the main themes of last month’s General Assembly debate. We heard calls for stronger global solidarity… and warnings that globalization should not perpetuate the inequalities of the past.
I told world leaders that this is a time for pulling together, step by step, policy by policy, partner by partner. This is a time to lay the groundwork for the breakthroughs we need across our agenda.
Morocco is a good place to discuss this challenge.
The country’s geographic position gives it a front-row seat on globalization, trade and migration. For example, Marrakesh is well known not only for its history, culture and beauty but known to all, particularly the United Nations and the international community, as the place where was set good practices and foundations — like [the] WTO [World Trade Organization] through the Marrakesh Agreement and also through the Marrakesh Process, the foundation of the Kyoto Protocol. We owe a great deal to this great and beautiful city of Marrakesh. Morocco’s vulnerability to climate change, its struggle to meet its expanding needs for water and energy — these are front-line cross-border issues. And as a place where cultures come together, Morocco has been very active in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
This is also the right time to be talking about global governance.
New economic powers have emerged. New challenges have come to the fore.
Unlike any time in history, our challenges transcend borders. They do not respect borders. No country or group, however powerful or resourceful they may be [can] resolve these issues. Even the United Nations cannot do it alone, without full support of Member States and international organizations, regional organizations, and subregional organizations. That is the subject which we are going to discuss today.
As interdependence deepens, some of our old systems and set-ups have not kept pace. We simply must find better ways of working together — and build systems that are tuned to our times — ones that are more accountable, more representative and more able to maximize our collective strength and maximize our limited resources to the best benefit of our global community.
This is what global governance means to me. I see three main themes, main areas where we have to pull together our energy and resources.
First, we need to pull together for the poor and vulnerable, the most vulnerable people.
Second, we need to pull our energy and resources to stave off the climate catastrophe.
Third, we need to pull together on a host of new-generation challenges.
Let me take these each in turn. Let me take these three challenges, three areas in more details.
First, global governance for a world economy that works for all people, not just a minority group.
Most of our current rules and institutions for global economic governance were shaped more than 60 years ago.
Today, many developing countries are among the most dynamic drivers of economic growth. They will also be the engines of recovery from the global economic and financial crisis.
Yet their voice in global economic decision-making is not what it should be. It is not what they deserve.
Whatever else we learn from the crisis, this much is clear: global economic management can no longer afford to neglect the most vulnerable or the disadvantaged.
We welcome the domestic stimulus packages by developed countries but they [should] never neglect and lose sight of the challenges […] of the most vulnerable people. I have made this quite clear to G-20 [Group of Twenty] Summit leaders in Toronto — that while we welcome the economic stimulus packages, [these] packages should never be made on the backs of the poor.
It is morally, politically unacceptable to inflict the greatest burdens on those who are the least responsible for the crisis.
It is smart economics — and smart politics — to draw the poor and the vulnerable back from the edge of despair, and build a world of prosperity and dignity for all.
We have a term for this: sustainable development. Two years from now, the nations of the world will gather again in Rio de Janeiro to renew our commitment to the ideals that were first embraced there in 1992.
We also have a blueprint for bringing this vision to life: the Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000. That was the blueprint [adopted] by world leaders to lift billions of people out of poverty and provide decent educational opportunities, empower women and find cures for people [suffering from diseases]. Last month’s Millennium Development Goals Summit generated strong political momentum. Almost 140 Heads of State and Government gathered at the United Nations. They renewed their political commitment and they renewed their commitment that they would do all in their political capacity to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
They also made significant resource commitments — including $40 billion for our new Global Strategy on Maternal and Child Health. At a time when many Governments are tightening their belts, it is encouraging to see that national leaders are protecting aid commitments from the austerity knife.
The next test comes at the G-20 summit, in Seoul, Korea, just three weeks from now. [The] development agenda will be high in the priorities.
Secondly, we cannot talk about Rio 2012 without focusing on Cancun this year.
We need global governance to address the threat of climate change.
Last year’s Copenhagen conference did not meet the expectations of all; that we agree [on]. But we should not underestimate the important elements which world leaders have agreed on in the Copenhagen Accord.
In particular, there was important progress in building a broad political consensus. First of all, for the first time in history, world leaders have agreed that the global temperature rise will be contained within 2° C by 2050. They have agreed to provide financial support to developing countries in the amount of $100 billion dollars annually by 2020.
There were also gains on adaptation, deforestation, technology transfer, capacity-building and financial support.
Looking ahead, it is increasingly clear that the more we delay, the more we will pay — in competitiveness, resources, and most importantly human lives.
In Cancun, we must capture progress on those issues where there is consensus.
Most immediately, we need progress on fast-start financing. We have to admit that there is a serious gap of trust between the developing and developed world. The best way and quickest way to bridge this gap of trust is to provide fast-start financial support to developing countries. This is what we have been doing and we will do now. The leaders in Copenhagen have agreed to provide $30 billion dollars by the end [of] 2012 and $100 billion dollars annually by 2020. I have appointed [a] High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing led by Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway and Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia. They have been working and they have been making great progress. They are now supposed to bring me a report on the options, on how to generate $100 billion dollars by 2020.
I am going to feed this report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, which will meet in Cancun in December, in Cancun.
In the longer-term, we face what I term the “50-50-50 challenge”. By 2050, the world’s population will grow by 50 percent, reaching 9 billion people. By that time, by 2050, the world must reduce at least by 50 per cent global greenhouse gas emissions. That is the “50-50-50 challenge”.
Climate change is not a stand-alone issue. It is a crucial part of the broader agenda on sustainable development.
I have asked President Zuma of South Africa and President Halonen of Finland to lead my High Level Panel on Global Sustainability so that they can bring us — to the international community — ambitious but practical and workable solutions [on] how we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and how we can [connect] all these dots, starting from climate change, energy crisis, food crisis, population, migrations — all these should be linked because they are all interconnected issues. We will work in time for Rio 2012.
This is the sustainability challenge of the twenty-first century and thus one of the governance challenges of our times as well.
Thirdly, we also need global governance to face an array of new-generation challenges.
There are now more than 200 million international migrants. The economic crisis has exacerbated their vulnerability.
Yet even in places where unemployment is high, there is often a demand for foreign workers.
We need to overcome fears, focus on rights, and figure out how best to reap the development benefits for all concerned, home and host countries alike.
Like migration, biotechnology has generated hopes and concerns — hopes for new tools against hunger, disease and poverty; fears that it may threaten the environment and our security.
Moreover, today we are witnessing the globalization of health research, the spread of “health tourism” and the diminishing importance of national boundaries in the fight against deadly epidemics. The international dimensions are clear; so is the need for greater dialogue and consensus.
Organized crime syndicates are growing ever more powerful. In some places, police and armies are being out-gunned. Our ability to deliver justice is not evolving as quickly as the criminals’ skill at evading it.
Terrorism also continues to take a heavy toll. The chance that terrorists could gain access to fissile materials has brought new urgency to the nuclear security agenda. Those armed with bombs and guns today could well arrive with more potent force tomorrow. The best response is again international resolve and coordination and cooperation.
And indeed, in response to these challenges, we have adopted new legal conventions and agreements and new strategies and forged new partnerships; all in the name of global problem-solving, not global government.
And we remain ever on the lookout for more such issues, keeping our eyes on that far horizon, for threat and opportunity alike.
Global governance is not only about long-term arrangements; it is also about leadership on challenges in the here-and-now.
The referenda on the self-determination of Southern Sudan and on the status of Abyei are less than three months away. The stakes are very high. I think everyone is very much concerned about the future of Sudan, the future of Africa, and the peace and security of the international community as a whole. We must assist the Sudanese in finding a peaceful way through one of the most important passages in their country’s history. We have to make sure that these referenda on 9 January, next year, [will] be conducted in the most fair, credible and democratic — and I think most importantly in [a] peaceful manner.
For that, again, the United Nations has deployed a monitoring team already, lead by former President of Tanzania Mr. Mkapa. The United Nations is going to have monitors in every county of Southern Sudan, starting this week until the end of this referendum. As you know I have convened a high-level meeting on 24 September, where many Heads of States, including President Obama of the United States and many African leaders gathered, including two representatives from both South and North Sudan. That was one of the highest [level] meetings ever gathered on the situation in Sudan. We are all committed again through global support and cooperation and governance.
In Haiti, nine months after the tragic earthquake, the humanitarian response has been outpouring, and we are now delivering water and sanitation and food to millions and millions of people in Haiti. Of course, much more needs to be done in terms of their permanent housing, and sanitation, education, security and capacity-building.
These situations demand hands-on collective management. That, too, is global governance.
Global governance is too important to be left to just one organization or group.
But it is at the United Nations — with its universality, experience and operational presence in nearly every country — where global governance can best come together.
The United Nations is the right place, provided we ourselves keep pace.
That means performance — timely and accountable.
And it means reforming United Nations bodies.
The Economic and Social Council can play a stronger role on a range of deeply interconnected issues — financial risk, food insecurity, access to energy, a flawed international trading system.
And it is widely agreed that the Security Council’s membership should reflect today’s realities, not those of many decades ago. There is similarly ample room to strengthen the Council’s working methods, in terms of transparency, early warning and how issues get on its agenda.
Institutions and groupings that produce meaningful, positive change — global governance for a better world — will find themselves respected and in demand.
That is my vision for the United Nations.... and for the people we exist to serve.
* *** *For information media • not an official record