UN Headquarters

28 September 2007

Remarks to the annual meeting of ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Non-Aligned Movement

Ban Ki-moon

I am delighted to join you today.

Thank you for this opportunity to participate in the annual meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) -- my first as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Above all, let me thank NAM for the invaluable support I have received from all of you, individually and collectively. As I mentioned yesterday at the G-77 (Group of 77 developing countries and China) meeting, I have forged strong personal relationships with many of you over the past year that I shall cherish forever. Your support has been crucial to the important reforms that I have worked for since taking office. I am convinced that, together, we can build an effective partnership to build a stronger United Nations for a better world.

Let me also thank Cuba for providing dynamic leadership as chair of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Coordinating Bureau since last September. You have energetically taken on the challenge of making NAM’s position known on practically every major issue on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly. Given the complexity and number of matters we discuss here, that is not an easy task.

And let me congratulate all of you, especially Malaysia, Cuba and Egypt -- the Troika representing your past, present and future chairs -- for your efforts to revitalize the Movement.

That is an important achievement, and a major responsibility. Together, you voice the positions of 118 Member States of the United Nations. And while the Non-Aligned Movement once sought primarily to counter the confrontations of the cold war, today you are the voice of a new and more powerful South.

You understand that there is simply no viable alternative to multilateralism if we are to effectively tackle the complex challenges facing our globalized world. And at a time when the resources available to us seem ever more scarce, the demands placed upon the United Nations have never been greater. Today, we are working hard to prevent and resolve conflicts, protect human rights, implement the Millennium Development Goals, promote fairer global trade policies, safeguard our global environment. And the list goes on.

To effectively tackle the full range of challenges coming our way, we need to all work together -- Member States, the United Nations system, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders.

We must strengthen our partnerships to achieve our Millennium Development Goals. We must pursue collective action to respond to emerging crises. And we must strengthen the capacities of the United Nations to meet all the challenges before us.

Earlier this year, the non-aligned countries backed my reform initiatives in the areas of peacekeeping and disarmament structures here at Headquarters. I thank you for your support. It was a collective success.

But, we must continue to boost the Secretariat’s capacity in the field of peace and security. We must invest more in conflict prevention and mediation, so that disagreements both between and within States do not develop into violence or give rise to conflict. That is why, next month, I intend to propose to the General Assembly a significant strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs. We aim to make more effective use of my good offices. I count on your support in this initiative.

I also count on your constructive involvement as the General Assembly continues its efforts to address other issues in need of collective rethinking -- such as Security Council reform and the recommendations contained in the report of the High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence.

In my statement to the Assembly on Tuesday, I underlined my views on the major issues of peace and security.

On Darfur, next month’s negotiations in Libya must result in an agreement that will bring a stable and secure peace to the region. All parties must play a constructive role to this end. Meanwhile, a strong AU-UN (African Union-United Nations) hybrid peacekeeping force is being raised for deployment to the area, and sustained attention is being given to the humanitarian needs of the region’s displaced population.

In the Middle East, with renewed leadership from the Arab world and the United States, as well as the efforts of the Quartet and its representative, the elements for a renewed push for peace are being brought together. The forthcoming international meeting to be convened by the United States could represent a historic opportunity.

The challenge for the United Nations in Iraq will have to be addressed. Security Council Resolution 1770 (2007) has placed a major burden on the United Nations to promote political negotiation and national reconciliation, as well as in providing humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people. A similar challenge faces us in Afghanistan, where drug trafficking and terrorist attacks remain key unresolved issues.

Recent developments in Myanmar are causing grave concern. The authorities in Myanmar must exercise restraint, engage without delay in dialogue, release detained leaders, and initiate a national reconciliation process. I have sent my Special Adviser on an urgent mission to Myanmar.

In Africa, as well as in other parts of the world, the armed forces of troop contributing countries, including those from member countries of NAM, operate under the United Nations flag in arduous conditions to fulfill major responsibilities in complex multidimensional peacekeeping operations. They deserve our gratitude and commendation.

I have been speaking here of the most pressing issues of peace and security. But let me say to you, clearly and directly: issues of economic and social development cannot take a back seat to issues of peace and security. The two go hand in hand. There can be no security without development, and vice versa. There can be no more important mission for the United Nations than reducing poverty and helping the people of the poorest nations share to a greater measure in the world's prosperity.

The tides of globalization have left too many nations behind. Economic growth has not lifted all boats. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cuba rightly said yesterday, the 130 countries of the G-77 have the right to development. The gap between the richest nations of the world and the poorest has grown far too large. We have a moral duty to work towards a more equitable balance. As with climate change, so too with the problems of global poverty: we are all in this together.

This is partly why I have pushed so hard for United Nations reform -- to make the United Nations faster, more mobile, more effective, more results-oriented. To be more transparent, accountable, efficient. This will help us to better deliver on our most critical missions -- including development. If the world has faith that we use our resources effectively and wisely, they must be encouraged to provide increased resources for development.

We must renew our efforts to realize the Millennium Development Goals, especially for the so-called “bottom billion” of the world's poor. We need fresh thinking, new programmes and policies. We must work together.

Our aim is to ensure that this Organization can more effectively tackle the complex and interlinked challenges of the 21st century –- in peace and security, in development and in human rights. As we move forward in these efforts, I assure you that we will balance the momentum towards change with respect for intergovernmental procedures and deliberations.

I look to your strong support and your active participation, as we confront the challenges ahead. I look forward to hearing your views. And I look forward to our continued partnership as we work to build a stronger United Nations for a better world.