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U.N. chief: ‘World leaders, listen to your people’

Speaking at the UAE Government Summit in Dubai, Ban Ki-Moon pushed for accountability and transparency

Eman El-Shenawi

Published: Updated:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday asked international leaders to listen to their people, sending a warning to those who “place themselves above the law.”

Speaking at the UAE Government Summit in Dubai, an annual meet focusing on how governments can handle a changing world, the U.N. chief said he has repeatedly condemned the “heinous behavior of those committing atrocious acts against civilians.”

He added: “Leaders that place themselves above the law and their people, put their governments at risk ... Leaders must listen to the voices of people, what their visions, aspirations are, particularly voices of women who have fought too long for equality.”

He pushed accountability and transparency as factors for government advancement, adding that he himself has chosen to publish his financial assets and earnings, encouraging other world leaders to do the same.

In a reference to regional turmoil, including the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he highlighted instability in Libya and Yemen and concerns caused by ISIS seizing swathes of land in Syria and Iraq over the past year.

‘Marginalization drives radicalization’

“Governments are facing many challenges around the world, and the U.N. is forging a global response to these challenges ... We need to address the marginalization and exclusion that drives radicalization,” he said.

The U.N. chief pointed out three main events that will take place this year: The upcoming sustainable development global partnership forum in Addis Ababa, the climate change agreement in Paris in December and the special summit meeting of the U.N. General Assembly this year.

“We are the first generation that can end poverty, and we may be the last generation to avert climate change,” he said in a stark message.

With an “innovative” focus on how governments can handle a changing world, a total of 87 countries will be participating in this year’s Government Summit.

UAE leaders and Queen Rania of Jordan are among more than 100 international speakers at the three-day event running from Feb. 9 to 11.