Ban: Meltdown may halt UN work
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon warned his top lieutenants on Friday that the global financial crisis jeopardized everything the United Nations has done to help the world’s poor and hungry.?

“It threatens to undermine all our achievements and all our progress,” Ban told a meeting of UN agency chiefs devoted to the crisis. “Our progress in eradicating poverty and disease. Our efforts to fight climate change and promote development. To ensure that people have enough to eat.”?

At a meeting also attended by the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Ban said the credit crunch that has stunned markets worldwide compounded the food crisis, the energy crisis and Africa’s development crisis. “It could be the final blow that many of the poorest of the world’s poor simply cannot survive,” he added, in one of his bleakest assessments of the impact of the financial turmoil.?

In a statement after the meeting, Ban picked up a theme he has stressed since the crisis erupted last month, that it should not be allowed to hit hardest “those least responsible”— the poor in developing countries. The UN chief told reporters he would put that case to a financial summit in Washington on November 15 by US called by resident George W Bush.?

Ban has been invited to that gathering along with leaders of the G20 — the Group of Seven top industrial democracies and key emerging economies.?

“As secretary-general I am going to emphasize, as I have been doing in the past, to ask the world leaders to give priority in addressing the challenges of developing countries,” he said.?

Ban said it was important that, despite the world economic downturn, the United Nations continue to pursue its so-called Millennium Development Goals — eight targets for slashing poverty, hunger and disease by 2015.?