Nay Pyi Taw, Nov 12 (IANS) Expressing his support for the ASEAN members, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday urged them to back a post-2015 development agenda in the light of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“(The year) 2015 will be a crucial year for the international community to usher in a new era of sustainable development as we reach agreement on a post-MDG agenda and its financing,” Xinhua quoted the UN chief as saying during the 6th ASEAN-UN summit here.
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
Recapping the challenges faced by humanity around the world, the UN chief insisted countries have to come together even stronger to address manmade and natural disasters, as well as push through a tough treaty on climate change.
“We are looking for a strong agreement on climate change, a 2-degree increase in global temperature poses a significant threat to many countries including coastal towns in this region.”
Ban also noted that human rights abuses and intolerance, especially discrimination of minorities and violence against women, were on the increase in the region and called on ASEAN to strengthen frameworks to deal with these challenges.
“The UN stands ready to walk with ASEAN and its member states to strengthen national capacity to protect human rights, provide justice and promote accountability,” he added.
The UN chief also urged ASEAN governments to empower civil society organisations and allow them to function competently to contribute to sustainable development.
On Myanmar, Ban praised reforms in the country, noting that the presidential elections due next year would leave the country facing “critical benchmarks” on international standards of democracy.
“The government and people of Myanmar can count on the support of the United Nations as they continue the process of democratisation, development and national reconciliation,” he said.