By J C Suresh
TORONTO (IDN) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has applauded Argentina for its strong partnership with the UN and its cooperation with and support to other countries.
“You are a standard bearer for United Nations values and principles,” said Ban in his remarks to the Argentine Council for International Relations on August 8.
“I count on Argentina’s support in the critical years ahead as we work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet,” he added.
Noting that the South American country has already made an “excellent start” in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, such as through the Government’s commitment to ‘zero poverty,’ he said it is important that the necessary resources are allocated and that social programmes that will contribute to reaching these goals are sustained.
He also highlighted that the country has shown strong commitment in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted three months after the agreement on the 2030 Agenda in September 2015, at the national level and that its aspiration to present more ambitious Intended National Contributions to the Paris Agreement is noteworthy.
Ban also commended the country’s thrust towards energy diversification and renewable resources as well as the recent establishment of a Climate Change Cabinet to coordinate comprehensive policy for carbon emission reduction and climate-related risk mitigation.
“We need such commitments to inspire a race to the top and limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees,” he stressed. “Tackling climate change is essential for sustainable development,” he added.
The UN chief hailed the country for its efforts in addressing gender violence and in promoting gender equality. Emphasizing that ending violence against women and girls is one of his top priorities, he encouraged Argentina to continue working to close the gaps between law and practice. “We cannot provide a better future for all if we neglect the rights and aspirations of half the world’s people,” he stressed.
Ban thanked the country for its commitment to UN peacekeeping missions, especially those in Cyprus and Haiti, and for playing a key role in making the region free of the terror of nuclear weapons as well as for supporting the historic Arms Trade Treaty.
In particular, he thanked the country for its contributions to the UN mission to Colombia, authorized recently by Security Council, to monitor the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP).
He further said that Argentina served with distinction on the Security Council and the Human Rights Council and, as the third largest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, plays an important role in regional organizations, such as South American Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Organization of American States, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and, more recently, as an observer in the Pacific Alliance.
Working with the United Nations, at the regional, level, Ban said that the Government has also shown consistent support to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Emphasizing the importance to address challenges facing the global community, the Secretary-General said conflict and protracted crises also undermine our efforts to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda.
He added that humanitarian needs far surpass the collective capacities for response, and expressed hope that Member States of the UN will work at the highest level to find the political solutions that are so vital to reduce humanitarian needs around the world.
The UN chief underlined that the High-Level Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, to be held in September will be a historic opportunity to come up with a “blueprint” for a better international response.
He added that Argentina has already taken a step toward that goal with its commitment to welcome Syrian refugees, and that by extending a hand of hospitality to foreigners in need, the country it is reconfirming that this it is deeply grounded in the beliefs of multi-culturalism and religious freedom.
“Your historic transition into a solid democracy with justice, accountability and rule of law is an example of hope for the world,” expressed Ban. “Argentina sends a clear message that a society can only flourish by respecting human rights, cultural and religious diversity, democratic processes and justice,” he concluded.
Argentine Government has proposed Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra as successor to Ban whose ten-year term expires on December 31, 2016. Before being appointed as Foreign Minister in November 2015, she served as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, assuming that post in March 2008.
Prior to that, she had been chief operating officer and Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, where she oversaw emergency and humanitarian operations in more than 80 countries.
During the tsunami emergency in December 2004, she led the first phase of the operational response and mustered human resources, budget, finance, information, technology, telecommunications, administration and security to deal with the disaster. [IDN-InDepthNews – 09 August 2016]
Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a keynote address at the Argentine Council of Foreign Relations in Buenos Aires. UN Photo/Mark Garten
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