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General News of Sunday, 20 April 2008

Source: GNA

UN Sec-Gen urges UNCTAD XII to address climatic change

Accra, April 20, GNA - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, at the beginning of a West African tour, has asked the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII), to use the Accra meeting to address issues of climatic change.

Mr. Ban, who is in Accra to open the Conference on Sunday, commended Ghana for its active role in the African Union and peacekeeping efforts in trouble spots of the world.

The Secretary General, during a courtesy call on the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes, praised Ghana's Parliament, which, he said, had promoted good governance. Mr Ban observed that Ghana was making progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and urged the nation to plug all holes for better performance.

The Speaker said, "it is our expectation that the UNCTAD XII will make headway for developing countries to set themselves on a more sustainable course".

He said the economic circumstances of developing countries continued to be weak due to the continued skewed trade and investment flows in favour of the richer nations of the north.

Mr. Hughes said Ghanaians knew and cared deeply about poverty, and Parliament, through its committees and debates, was working hard at ensuring that the Millennium Development Goals were achieved in order to reduce poverty levels within social strata.

The Speaker paid tribute to the UN and its agencies, notably the UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and the UNFPA, in capacity building on poverty reduction and governance.

He said trade, democracy and development were linked in the modern era of globalisation, but noted that "for a number of years now, the inputs of the Legislature, which is the microcosm of the people, have been left out during global discussions on trade and development". Mr. Hughes said the trend was slowly, but hopefully changing, and representatives from the Legislature were now being involved in some of these discussions.

Mr. Ban is scheduled to address the opening of the UNCTAD XII on Sunday and hold discussions with President John Agyekum Kufuor. He will also visit Liberia, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire.