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Ban Ki-moon joins 7.30 -

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Ban Ki-moon joins 7.30

Broadcast: 08/09/2011

Reporter: Chris Uhlmann

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon talks to 7.30 about the challenges facing the global


CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: If you think that Julia Gillard's got a tough job, spare a thought for
Ban Ki-Moon. Each day, the head of the United Nations literally confronts all the troubles in the
world. And he faces more than a few critics who believe the UN too often confuses process with

The Secretary-General's visiting Australia and I spoke with him earlier.

Ban Ki-Moon, welcome.

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: It's a great pleasure to visit Sydney.

CHRIS UHLMANN: It's almost 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit put climate change on the
international agenda. Haven't we proved since then that multilateral forums aren't going to solve
the world's environmental problems?

BAN KI-MOON: The first Earth summit in 1992 adopted a very ambitious Agenda 21. However,
international community has not done much. That is why I regard the summit this real ??? 20 summit
on sustainability development will be the most important for the international community. That is
why I'm going to ask the member state of the General Assembly September, this month, to take this
sustainable development as a top priority of the United Nations.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But wasn't that the priority 20 years ago and still we don't even have a proper
definition of what sustainable development means?

BAN KI-MOON: The awareness of the issues has been much, much heightened. Now everybody understands
that international community is suffering from climate change, food crisis, energy shortages, water
scarcity, gender empowerment, global health. Now it is high time to link all these issues.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Isn't the only thing that matters in the end though results, and if we take just one
thing, climate change, since 1992, in fact since the Kyoto Protocol, we've seen the world's carbon
footprint grow?

BAN KI-MOON: It's true that we have not been able to agree on a globally acceptable comprehensive
agreement. We have been working very hard. We must have a legally binding global agreement. Now
member states have not been forthcoming yet. But it is also encouraging that many member states,
individually, taking their own steps to use more renewable sources of energy and to take more
mitigation efforts and to adapt.

CHRIS UHLMANN: A country that needs action from the international community is Syria. Why is it
that the world could act on Libya and not Syria?

BAN KI-MOON: It is totally unacceptable situation where President Assad has not heeded to
international calls. He must stop the continuing killing - excessive force of killing his own
people. I have spoken over the phone several times with him and I urged him to listen carefully to
the aspiration of the people and take a bold political reform before it is too late in an inclusive
way. Now Human Rights Council has taken very important, serious decision to establish a Human
Rights Council international inquiry of - international commission of inquiry. I hope this inquiry
commission will be able to find out what have been the violations of human rights. I dispatched my
humanitarian assessment teams. They were alarmed by the continuing killing of people by excessive
military force.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Is there any indication though that Syria is listening to all of these entreaties?
Isn't what is needed some action by the international community?

BAN KI-MOON: The Security Council has been discussing this matter quite long time. The Security
Council has not been able to speak in one united way. I sincere hope that international community
should speak in one and coherent manner. That is for the humanity. We cannot let these things
continue like this way.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Now you've praised Australia's human rights record, but the big issue in Australia
at the moment, or one of the big issues in Australia at the moment is on our treatment of the
asylum seekers, and many internal commentators on human rights would say that on that, Australia
gets a fail.

BAN KI-MOON: I know that Australia has very serious problems dealing with asylum seekers coming by
boats. This is a part of a global problem. United Nations is taking care of 35 million refugees and
there are much, much more internally displaced people who needs our support. Now, on this
particular case, I would suggest that the Australian Government look at this issue from a broader
perspectives. First of all, I appreciate and I understand concern of Australian Government of
asylum seekers, and at the same time, Australian Government may find some other options where you
can satisfy both the concerns, needs - the concerns of Australian Government and these of asylum
seekers who are underprivileged people whose human rights should be protected.

CHRIS UHLMANN: As you say, there are 35 million people on the move around the world. By comparison
then, Australian problems are small. What's your view on offshore processing, which is what the
Australian Government wants to pursue?

BAN KI-MOON: I'm not in a position to comment on any specific agenda being promoted or being
considered by a national government. My only wish is that Australian Government continue
discussions with High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations on this matter.

CHRIS UHLMANN: What about the United Nations itself. It seems at least from the outside a deeply
flawed organisation, and some of the messages that you sent, you talked about human rights, but up
until March, Libya was on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

BAN KI-MOON: The United Nations is a multi-national organisation, intergovernmental body composed
of 193. There may be some areas for improvement, but by and large, United Nations has been the
centre of addressing peace and security development and human rights. Now in case of (inaudible) in
Libya, United Nations stood firm and stepped in to provide necessary assistance. We have been very
strong in dealing with other issues like - we have been largely successful in having South Sudan
independent, gain independent. This is quite a successful story the United Nations has been making.
But, still, we need the full co-operation of the member states so that the UN can better address
all these issues.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Well, thankyou very much for speaking with us.

BAN KI-MOON: Thankyou very much.