7 October 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his confidence that the United Nations can deliver concrete results for the peoples of the world who have increasingly turned to the Organization to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. “The international community turned to us for assistance, which ranged from helping victims of conflict and disaster and addressing the needs of the poor and hungry to restoring peace between warring parties and mobilizing the global community to address a new generation of global challenges like climate change and terrorism,” Mr. Ban wrote in his second annual report on the work of the Organization. “The rising demand for our services is daunting, and yet I am convinced that with dedication, focus and commitment we can live up to the hopes of all peoples who look to us to build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world,” he added in the 71-page document, which was the subject of debate by Member States in the General Assembly yesterday. Mr. Ban acknowledged that during the last year, the world experienced “a huge increase in the intensity of engagement across the entire spectrum of development, security, humanitarian affairs, and human rights issues.” To fully respond to this surge in demand on the world body’s services, he called for focus in three key areas – delivering results for people most in need, securing global goods, and creating a stronger UN through full accountability. He also emphasized that strategies to address new challenges will need to be developed globally, but the locus of action and responsibility will be primarily the national level. “I appeal to governments to take action, as the consequences of inaction will spare none.” On development, the Secretary-General noted that halving extreme poverty, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, is not enough. The international community must also tackle the food crisis, climate change, natural disasters and violent conflicts – all of which threaten to “turn back the clock” on development advances. Mr. Ban also highlighted the sustained demands placed on the Organization in the area of peace and security, including work in Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, northern Uganda, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Western Sahara. The past year saw the deployment of two of the UN’s most complex peacekeeping operations – in Darfur, and to Chad and CAR. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) now leads 19 missions with more than 130,000 women and men, including troop and police contributions from 117 Member States and a budget of about $7 billion. In addition, the Secretary-General acknowledged “significant strides” in delivering accountable, predictable and timely assistance to communities impacted by the global food crisis, extreme weather events and armed conflict. He also pointed to the need for continued reform of the world body to enable the UN to tackle the changing and growing requests placed on it. “To deliver on the increasing demands for our services, we need a stronger, more effective and modern Organization.” As part of this effort, Mr. Ban has called for the establishment of a new accountability compact with senior managers. “I am committed to ensuring that there is accountability within the Secretariat, flowing both ways between me, to senior managers, and staff. “I am also taking steps to strengthen the Secretariat’s accountability to Member States for ensuring that the Organization is well managed, upholding individual and collective integrity, and delivering results,” he wrote.
by Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press Posted Jul 29, 2016 8:56 am MDT Last Updated Jul 29, 2016 at 11:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US regulators: Still heavy risk in big bank loans WASHINGTON – Federal regulators say risk remains heavy in large loans made by banks and other financial institutions, though lending standards have improved.The Federal Reserve and other agencies cite increasing risks in loans to oil and gas producers as oil prices have fallen to three-month lows. The regulators said their latest examinations also showed continued high risk from loans made to companies that are already heavily in debt.The steep decline in oil prices has hurt many energy companies, making it harder for them to repay their loans. The amount of large oil and gas loans that are at risk of failing or already in default doubled in the first quarter from the same period in 2015, according to the agencies’ semi-annual review released Friday. Those loans jumped to $77 billion from $38.2 billion.Overall, the review found that loans at risk of failing or already in default, plus those showing potential weakness, remained high at 10.3 per cent of the total $4.1 trillion in large loans.That was up from 9.5 per cent of a total $3.9 trillion a year earlier.The review found that the level of problem loans remained higher than in previous periods of economic recovery and growth, raising concern that future loan losses could increase significantly in the near future.The regulators said banks have improved their lending standards for loans to heavily indebted companies — something they have been pushing banks to do.Loans in the oil and gas industry represent 12.3 per cent of total large loans outstanding.U.S. banks posted increased loan losses in the first quarter driven by a huge jump in delinquent energy loans.Oil prices have fallen dramatically over the past couple of years, touching levels not seen since the depths of the recession in 2009. They now are running around $41 a barrel for crude oil, down from a $100 high in mid-2014 — slicing into the profits of energy companies and putting projects on hold. As cash flow from oil sales has trickled, some companies are straining to repay their loans.Regulators are worried about a heavy load of risky loans weighing on institutions’ financial soundness and the potential threat to the broader banking system. By conducting the periodic reviews, they are seeking to prevent the kind of risk-taking that touched off the financial crisis in 2008.Through a series of rules for banks’ increased capital cushions against losses and other requirements, regulators have put into effect the tougher standards mandated by Congress in a 2010 financial overhaul law that responded to the crisis.The semi-annual review is conducted by examiners from the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. It examines large loans, defined as those worth at least $20 million that are made jointly by three or more financial institutions.