United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this week called on world leaders to remember their pledges to help meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals by 2015, even in the face of the current economic crisis, the Inquirer reports. Ban was speaking at a press conference in Manila, the Philippines, after his opening address at the Global Forum on Migration and Development. He said he is sending a "clear and strong" message to world leaders, urging them "not to lose sight of the sufferings of developing countries." The impact of the economic crisis on MDG targets -- which include curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases -- is "worrisome," he said, adding that wealthy countries must "keep their promises already made" at the Group of Eight industrialized nations summit in 2005.

Ban said the United Nations will "continue reminding all countries of their commitments to the MDGs," adding that it is "our job to maintain a constant, insistent and loud voice in defense of the voiceless and the marginalized" (Uy, Inquirer, 10/29). He said that although MDG targets "may be affected" by the current economic situation, it "depends upon the political will and priority of the leaders of developed countries not to lose" momentum (Thai News Service, 10/30).

Ban also praised the European Commission for allocating 15 million euros -- or about $19 million -- for development and migration projects in 16 developing countries, calling the allocation a "product of political will of developed countries, and I call on them not to lose this political will." Ban said he will repeat his reminder to world leaders at the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15 (Inquirer, 10/29).

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