Ban calls on world parliamentarians to support MDGs and disarmament efforts

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi

27 March 2010 – Given the common goal of the United Nations and parliaments worldwide to strive for a better future, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for strong cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), disarmament and clean energy.

“Parliaments, at their best, embody the principles of dialogue, democracy and the rule of law, which are inextricably tied to reconciliation and good governance,” the Secretary-General said in a message delivered today by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at the IPU Assembly underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

Quoting the opening words of the UN Charter, “We the People,” Mr. Ban said today that parliaments and the UN share a common responsibility to strive for the betterment of lives for people, particularly the most vulnerable.

In pursuit of this goal, the Secretary-General called on IPU members to help achieve the eight universally accepted MDGs before the 2015 deadline.

“Parliaments provide the enabling national legislative framework for achieving the MDGs. You are also at the forefront of fighting for improved livelihoods and access to basic services.”

Ways to accelerate progress will be the main theme of the MDG Summit hosted by Mr. Ban at the General Assembly High-Level debate in September in New York.

On nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the Secretary-General asked the IPU for its support to ensure success in May at the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, whose members include five nuclear powers – also the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Secretary-General also called for the IPU's efforts to support climate change, saying parliamentarians can provide the foundation for building a green economy.

“While the private sector will be a big part of the picture, parliaments can produce legislation that establishes incentives for innovation, promotes investment in clean technologies and renewable energy, and develops national plans and goals.”

Mr. Ban noted the challenges parliamentarians face, including lack of sufficient resources and expertise, and constitutional dominance or manipulation of the executive.

Noting the IPU Assemy's theme of political reconciliation and governance, Mr. Ban said it reflects the keen insight that elections are not, by themselves, enough to make a democracy.

He noted that the UN was working with parliaments to strengthen “the quality of governance after the ballots has been counted” in Afghanistan, Burundi, Timor-Leste and Nepal, where the UN Mission there (UNMIN) helped Nepalis achieve their long-held vision of establishing “a Constituent Assembly that is representative of the country's ethnic and religious mosaic.”


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