UN Secretary-General at AU Summit: “The World Can Meet its Environmental Challenge”

30 January 2011: Speaking at a side event on “Drylands and Pastoral Populations” held during the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined that, although the first Earth Summit had provided vision for achieving the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development, the world has yet to see comprehensive, coherent action and results on climate change, desertification and biodiversity.

He mentioned progress achieved in Ethiopia to combat hunger, famine and suffering partly due to environmental degradation. He welcomed the planting of over a billion trees, noting that the Ethiopian example underscores that the world can meet its environmental challenge. Referring to the 2010 Cancun Climate Change Conference, he expressed optimism for the climate conference in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011, and urged all governments to strengthen national efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience. [UNECA Press Release] [Ban's Statement]