Image via WikipediaUN chief Ban Ki-moon today called on his native South Korea to take the lead in promoting sustainable development and finding solutions to global hunger, climate change and other pending challenges.
"The Republic of Korea should be in the forefront of tackling global issues and achieving sustainable development," the secretary-general told a forum hosted by an influential South Korean business lobby group, referring to South Korea by its official name.
Ban arrived in South Korea on Tuesday for a six-day official visit, his first since he was elected to a second five-year term as UN leader in June. He has said that sustainable development, which aims to reduce global poverty while preserving the environment, would be the top priority during his second term that begins January 1 next year.
He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give a voice to the world''s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the UN itself.
Ban said his home country must play a bigger role in international affairs, citing the nation''s experience of building an economic miracle on the ruins of the 1950-53 Korean War and then fostering a politically vibrant democracy.
"As a result of Korea''s economic development and democratization, the international community is increasingly looking to (Korea''s) capacity and experience to address global challenges," Ban told South Korean business leaders.
Ban, who served as South Korea''s foreign minister before taking the helm of UN in 2007, also urged home country to spend more to help less developed countries.
"Korea needs to significantly increase its contribution to the Official Development Aid (ODA)," Ban said.
The ODA is designed to help Asian, African and Latin American countries establish economic and industrial infrastructure. The assistance consists of concessional loans, grants and other support for multilateral cooperation business.
South Korea has been ramping up the global development aid for poor and less developed countries as part of its efforts to give back for the help it received from the international community in rebuilding its economy following the Korean War.
The Seoul government plans to spend around 1.7 trillion won (USD 1.56 billion) in ODA this year, according to foreign ministry officials.
Later in the day, Ban is scheduled to launch a U.N. youth conference in the western city of Incheon. About 500 students from around the world will take part in the third Global Model UN Conference. (Yonhap)