Posted by: APO | 20 April 2008

Ghana / UN’s Ban Ki-moon remarks to the press upon arrival in Accra, Ghana / 12th UN Conference on Trade and Development

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the press.


My delegation and I have just arrived here to take part in the proceedings of the 12th UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Here in Accra, the UN Conference on Development and Trade could not have come at a more crucial time. As you know, we have been witnessing riots and mass protests around the world over the sharp rise in food prices. This is a worrisome situation. It poses a serious threat to the stability of many developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. Concerted international action is urgently needed to tackle this issue. Solving this crisis immediately is of particular importance because those most affected are the bottom billion

— those left behind by globalization, those who are not experiencing any of its benefits. It is for these bottom billion, most of whom reside in Africa, that I have placed the emphasis this year on accelerating the global effort to meet the MDGs, in particular here in Africa.


So I look forward to tomorrows Conference on Trade and Development.

UNCTAD’s mandate is more important than ever in this context of deepening interdependence. There is an urgent need for solutions to persistent and emerging problems and concerns, including the impact of some aspects of trade liberalization on the poor in developing countries. And I hope that the Accra Conference can begin to address them.


I also intend to visit Liberia, Burkina Faso and Cote dIvoire, where I will meet political leaders, civil society and my UN staff. At each stop, I intend to promote the particular need for African countries to press ahead with the Millennium Development Goals. I will also seek first-hand impressions of the impact of United Nations Peace-building projects.


Of course, a number of political issues of concern, in particular the situation in Cote dIvoire, are on the agenda of my discussions with regional leaders, including President John Kufuor, whom I will be meeting tomorrow. I also intend to raise the crises in Zimbabwe, Darfur and Kenya.


Lastly, I am very pleased to visit this great country, which is a very important Member State of the United Nations. I have been working very closely with President Kufuor and I appreciate his kind invitation to meet with him tomorrow. While he was serving as president of the African Union last year, during my first year as Secretary-General, we developed an excellent working relationship. His cooperation during that time was very important and much appreciated. So I am looking forward to having a fruitful meeting with him tomorrow.


I wish all the success and continued prosperity to the people and Government of Ghana. I also wish success to the UNCTAD Conference.


Thank you very much.


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