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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 22 September 2011 - Secretary-General's message to the Meeting of Ibero-American Ministers of Foreign Affairs [delivered by Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean]

I am pleased to convey greetings to the Ibero-American Ministers of Foreign Affairs gathered in New York for this meeting.

Let me acknowledge the leadership of Mr. Enrique Iglesias, Secretary-General of the Ibero-American Cooperation Secretariat.

Allow me also to pay tribute to the Government of Paraguay for the excellent preparations being made for the twenty-first Ibero-American Summit, to be held next month in Asunción.

I welcome your choice of theme for that Summit: the links between State transformation and development. By focusing on the kind of State required to strengthen the region's development prospects, you are building on the significant progress you have made towards democracy and more inclusive societies.

In Ibero-America as elsewhere, the complex challenges of our times require Governments to engage more dynamically with their people on long-term goals. This calls for a proactive State that operates transparently, that forges links with social actors, and that is capable of ensuring the reliable and equitable provision of public goods.

As I said the full membership yesterday, sustainable development is the imperative of the 21st century. Advancing economic growth, lifting people out of poverty, protecting the environment are one and the same cause. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, international-crime prevention, global health, food security and women's empowerment. If we do this, solutions to one problem can become solutions for all.

The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean will continue to work closely with the Government of Paraguay, the Secretariat of the Ibero-American Summit and other partners in the preparation of the Summit's document, Towards a new State architecture for inclusive development.

I look forward to working with you to achieve our shared goals.

Muchas gracias. Muito obrigado. Thank you very much.

Statements on 22 September 2011