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UN chief urges global solidarity to deal with financial crisis

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on countries ” to act boldly and in solidarity to prevent the global financial crisis from turn i ng into a prolonged human crisis”.

“Global solidarity is necessary and in the interest of all,” he said in a speec h at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Tuesday.

In his speech, a copy of which was made available to PANA, the UN chief stated ” while recently we have heard much in this country (US) about how problems on Wal l Street are affecting innocent people on the main streets, we need to think more

about those people around the world with no streets”.

Ban also said: “Now more than ever we must be bold,” adding that, “however a co untry may be powerful or resourceful, for example like the United States, even t h e United States, cannot address this alone”.

He said he intended to mobilise “all the resources and wills” of the UN’s 192 m ember states to deal with the crisis.

“In particular, we cannot allow the financial crisis to turn into a prolonged hu man crisis,” he said.

The secretary-general repeated his calls for stronger action to reduce poverty a s financial turmoil and high food prices threaten to worsen the problems of the p oor, and urged world leaders to follow through with pledges made last month for 1 6 billion dollars in aid.

According to him: “Those generous pledges now need to be kept”.

He also called for action to address the challenges of climate change, global he alth, terrorism and disarmament, all of which are key to securing the common goo d in a time of global crises.

“We come together today at a time of intense crisis – unrelenting waves buffetin g the world’s people and institutions,” Ban told Harvard’s students and faculty

members.

The UN scribe also noted that some people thought he had been overly dramatic a few months ago when he spoke of a “triple crisis” of soaring food and fuel pric e s, accelerating climate change, and stalled development for over a billion of th e world’s people.

“Today, with increased evidence of the effects of all three crises around the gl obe, compounded by the ongoing shock waves of the financial crisis, my call to a r ms now seems distant and all too modest,” he stated.

He said “Now more than ever we must be bold. In these times of crisis, when we a re tempted to look inward, it is precisely the time when we must move pursuit of

the common good to the top of the agenda”.

On climate change, Ban said: “The world cannot afford to delay action on the iss ue”, calling it “the ultimate global and existential threat”.

He urged countries to conclude a new comprehensive climate deal that could be ra tified and in place before the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol e n ds in 2012.

Global health is another “great challenge of our time”, the secretary-general s aid, noting that “diseases and pandemics are spreading across borders today fast e r than ever before, and can have devastating impacts, if not controlled effectiv e ly”.

On terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction, Ban said: “This is p erhaps the most serious threat to international peace and security.”

He therefore urged countries to further their cooperation to counter terrorism b y being more innovative in developing their tools, strengthening partnerships wi t h regional and civil society groups, and better leveraging their collective stre n gths.

Meanwhile, PANA learnt that some governments had promised about 3.3 trillion dol lars to guarantee bank deposits and bank-to-bank lending to stem the financial c r isis, while others have taken stakes in struggling banks.

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