The global food crisis and climate change will be among the top issues on the agenda of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he attends the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Japan this week.
“We must act, in Hokkaido and beyond - not merely because it is the right thing to do but also because it is in the enlightened interest of all of us,” Ban said ahead of the three-day G8 Summit scheduled to begin today, Monday 7 July 2008.
Urgent challenges to be addressed
Ahead of the summit, Ban sent letters to all G8 leaders in which he underscored that the world was facing three challenges that required their urgent attention: the food crisis, climate change, and progress on the anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Ban warned that unless decisive action was taken on the food crisis, an additional 100 million people around the world could fall below the poverty line.
Increased assistance for agricultural production
He recommended that the proportion of Official Development Assistance earmarked for agricultural production and rural development be increased from the present level of 3% to a new level of 10%, without diverting funds from current education or health budgets.
On climate change, he said that it was essential to reach agreement on what a new climate change regime will entail, taking into account elements agreed upon by participants at last year's historic conference in Bali.
Students asked to help
Over the weekend, the secretary-general issued a call to students taking part in a Model UN conference at Cheongju University, some 200 kilometres from Korea's capital Seoul, to look beyond national boundaries and aim high to help solve the world's numerous problems.
“Look at all the names of countries each of you are representing today, you will see that there is a whole world out there,” said Ban, who himself attended school in the city of Cheongju.
“Yes, you are Koreans but you should go beyond that and see that you are also citizens of the world. Korean may not be a global power; but Korea can be a global nation; Koreans can be global citizens.”
The secretary-general also paid a visit to Haengchi village, his birthplace, where he and Ban Soon-taek were welcomed by relatives, villagers, traditional music and drum ensembles and many others who travelled to see him.
He arrived in Korea from China, the second stop on a three-nation tour that also took him to Japan.Article published courtesy of BuaNews