17 December 2008 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today that the coming year promises to be no less difficult than 2008, which he called the “the year of multiple crises.”
“Our commitments and good intentions will be tested as never before,” he told an end of year news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, outlining a host of challenges from climate change to the economic meltdown to ongoing crises in Sudan’s Darfur region, the Middle East, Iraq, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.
Mr. Ban stressed that 2009 will be the year of climate change culminating in a meeting in Copenhagen next December to draw up a new treaty to slash global warming greenhouse gases. He added that he would hold a climate change summit at the UN in September.
“We have only 12 short months to Copenhagen. We have no more time to waste. We must reach a global climate change deal before the end of the year – one that is balanced, comprehensive and ratifiable by all nations. Success will require extraordinary leadership,” he stated.
“The European Union’s historic agreement on climate change and energy package, reached last weekend, demonstrates its commitment. I salute President Nicolas Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission for their strenuous leadership. The United States under its new President-elect, Barack Obama, also promises bold new leadership,” he added.
Mr. Ban said he was pleased at the way the world had come together in the face of the global economic recession. “Yet I fear we are only at the end of the beginning; this crisis will challenge the sense of global solidarity that is key to any solution,” he warned.
He stressed the “the responsibility to protect” in the realm of human rights and “in the larger sphere of common international endeavour, we should speak of the responsibility to deliver.”
Turning to a long list of crises confronting the world, Mr. Ban made the following points:
“It is our responsibility to deliver, for we know only too well the consequences of failure,” Mr. Ban concluded.
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