UN chief urges world leaders to contribute to resolving global problems

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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on leaders around the world to take action to address underlying threats in global hotspots while developing and protecting the Earth.

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Ban made the call in his first address of the year to the entire United Nations membership.

“I will urge world leaders to rise above national interests for our collective future,” Ban told the 193-member UN General Assembly (UNGA). “We are capable of this spirit of global citizenship.”

“This global organization should not have to plead with governments for troops, police, assets or resources while the victims of war and poverty suffer and die,” he said, urging greater action that would make this year “one of extraordinary progress.”

While briefing the UNGA on the challenges the world body will face for the year of 2014, Ban emphasized the continued violence in Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), among others.

Those conflicts are “devastating countries endowed with natural wealth, productive citizens, proud histories and every chance at peace and prosperity,” said Ban. “Leaders there must now act on their historical duty to reach this potential.”

In the Middle East, the coming year will be “critical” for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Ban. “I strongly support the current negotiations and urge the parties to make the courageous commitment needed to end the occupation and achieve a two-state solution.”

The UN chief also urged efforts to speed up progress towards the 2015 deadline for meeting the anti-poverty targets, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to agree on a roadmap that will define the post-2015 development agenda.

“We must seize this momentum,” he said. “Political leaders are deeply engaged in the global discussion on development, key constituencies are mobilized and we increasingly know what works.”

He also warned UN member states against succumbing to the myth that development is incompatible with robust climate action.

“Evidence shows that the goals of eradicating poverty, promoting inclusive growth, and holding global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius are mutually reinforcing,” said Ban.

The UN secretary-general is due to host a climate summit on Sept. 23, which will bring together political leaders as well as leaders from business, the finance community and civil society.

Furthermore, the international community must also focus greater attention on the inter-related threats of organized crime, terrorism, piracy, extremism, and trafficking in drugs, people and arms, Ban added. PNA

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