"Many millions" in dire need must not be "let down": UN chief

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Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

"We must not fail" the "many millions" of people in need around the world today.

That's the impassioned plea from the UN Secretary-General on Monday, ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit, due to take place on May 23, in Istanbul.

Mr Ban was updating Member States at UN headquarters in New York on preparations for the summit, putting what he called the "humanitarian imperative" at the centre.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Ban said that the summit was now entering the "final, crucial phase" of preparations.

Bold change would only be possible he said, if world leaders came to Turkey in person, and he announced that a so-called Leaders' Segment would kick off proceedings on the first day.

"We have in front of us a singular opportunity to stand together and deliver a message that we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today. We must not fail the people who need us, when then need us most. History will judge us by how we use this moment. We must not let down the many millions of men, women and children in dire need."

The UN chief also announced a series of roundtable meetings focussed on specific parts of the agenda, such as conflict prevention, refugees, climate change, and humanitarian investment.

He added that the voluntary and non-binding proposal to adopt so-called Core Commitments needed imaginative input from leaders and governments.

He concluded opening remarks by saying the Summit was "not an end point" but needed to be seen as the beginning of a "new era of international solidarity."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’09″

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