Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on the world’s biggest economies to
heed the voices of global public protest at their G-20 summit next week and show
the bold leadership needed to resolve the global economic crisis and achieve
sustainable development.

“The gathering force of public protest is the popular expression of an obvious
fact: that growing economic uncertainty, market volatility and mounting
inequality have reached a point of crisis,” he tells the leaders of the G-20
group of major industrialized and developing economies in a
released ahead of the 3-4 November summit in Cannes, France.

“Everywhere, people are losing faith in governments and public institutions. The
G-20 has an historic opportunity, and an historic responsibility, to deliver
bold solutions and lead the way. Above all else, we need to be united. The time
for haggling over incremental steps is over,” he adds, calling for the same
“ambitious leadership” shown at the 2009 summit in London in the midst of the
global financial meltdown.

In the letter, which he traditionally sends the leaders before each G-20 summit,
Mr. Ban stresses that even though budgets are stretched thin, the world cannot
afford to lose sight of those who are hardest hit: the poor, the planet, youth
and women.

“Those least responsible for this turmoil are paying the highest price,” he
writes. “Asking them to wait while other problems are solved is not only
counter-productive but immoral. As the leaders of the world’s largest economies,
you can announce specific measures in Cannes to demonstrate that the interests
of the poorer and most vulnerable members of our human family will feature
prominently in the global response.”

He calls for strong support for the pro-poor agenda embodied in the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), eight internationally-agreed goals that seek to slash
poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality, lack of access to health care
and education, and a host of other ills, all by 2015.

“Investments are needed now; we must not break our solemn pact with the world’s
poor,” he states. “We know what works; we must provide the resources to sustain
our gains and successes. Investments in women’s and children’s health, food and
nutrition security and gender equity, in particular, are paying dividends across
the board.”

He warns there will be no sustainable development or sustainable economies
without confronting the realities of climate change and calls on all the leaders
of the largest economies to recommit to securing a comprehensive, ambitious
global climate change agreement as soon as possible.

Achieving sustainable energy, food and nutrition security and protection of
oceans as a hallmark of a blue planet are also imperatives, first among which is
access to energy for the 1.4 billion people who lack modern energy services,
doubling energy efficiency and doubling the percentage of renewable energy in
the global energy mix, all by 2030.

“Young people and women have taken to the streets throughout the world,
demanding their rights and a greater voice in the economic and political life of
their countries. We must do all we can to deliver, especially in countries in
rapid transition,” he says.

“Above all, the G-20 needs to squarely address the crisis of rising inequality,
across and within countries. If we fail to do so, the future will come to us
with a vengeance. Social alienation and instability can only undermine the
prospects for peace, security and prosperity for all.”

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