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Meeting Of Top Officials From Across The UN

Secretary-General Ban chairs meeting of top officials from across the UN

28 April 2008 - The current global food crisis triggered by soaring prices, the safety and security of United Nations personnel and climate change dominated talks today involving Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior officials from the world body.

The topics were discussed at the spring session of the Chief Executives Board, which brings together the heads of the world body's various entities for regular meetings, in Bern, the Swiss capital, where Mr. Ban is on an official visit.

At a panel in Vienna last Friday, the Secretary-General stressed the urgency of tackling the food issue, noting that it is "very closely interlinked with development issues, climate change, food prices, our fight against disease and other equally important areas."

He noted that the food crisis has hurt the world's poorest and pushed 100 million people further into poverty, impeding the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight targets to slash a host of social ills by 2015.

"This has been a global challenge, so we need to address it in a collective way - globally," Mr. Ban said in his remarks to a forum entitled "The United Nations and the European Union: Joining Forces for the Challenges of the 21st Century."

Also participating in the events were Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik of Austria and Dimitrij Rupel, Foreign Minister of Slovenia, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna, the Secretary-General said that as a short-run response to the food crises, all humanitarian crises must be addressed.

"In the longer term, the international community, particularly the leaders of the international community, should sit down together on an urgent basis and address how we can, first of all, improve these economic systems, distributions systems, as well as how we can promote the improved production of agricultural products," he added.

Later today, Mr. Ban is scheduled to meet with Pascal Couchepin, the President of Switzerland.

ENDS

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