The implementation of the United Nations' development agenda is at a "critical juncture" in the face of challenges including a slower global economy, soaring food and energy prices and climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.
The secretary-general made the remarks in a message to the High-level segment of the Economic and Social Council, delivered by Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang.
"The fragile state of the major developed market economies, persistent global imbalances and soaring oil and non-oil commodity prices are slowing growth of the global economy," Ban said.
"The financial turmoil of the past year is not incidental, but a reflection of systemic weaknesses in global financial markets," he said. "These conditions threaten to undermine efforts towards the development goals."
Meanwhile, rising food and energy prices are hitting hard on the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people, he said.
"Progress so far towards our developmental goals could easily be reversed if we do not find workable solutions to the twin crises in the food and energy markets," he said.
On climate change, Ban said that "if not addressed timely and adequately, this threat can bring all our development efforts to naught."
He also took note of the continuing "skepticism about globalization."
"We all should have serious concerns about a system whose wealthiest 400 citizens command, as a group, more resources than its bottom billion," Ban said.
"Yet we also need to beware of the risks of a severe backlash against globalization, which could significantly curtail the opportunities and benefits of a more closely integrated world," he stated.