New York Rotarian Meets With Pope Benedict XVI at United Nations

New York Rotarian Josef Klee welcomes Pope Benedict XVI during his April visit to United Nations Headquarters. Mr. Klee is a volunteer adviser to the Holy See at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

On April 18, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization at the organization’s headquarters in New York. He is the third Pope to address the United Nations, following Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. (Pope John Paul II addressed the United Nations twice, in 1979 and in 1995.)

Upon arriving at the United Nations, Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Srgjan Kerim. Before addressing the General Assembly, Pope Benedict met privately with the Secretary-General.
He noted that the founding principles of the United Nations – the desire for peace, a sense of justice, respect for the dignity of the human person, and cooperation and humanitarian assistance — are just aspirations of the human spirit. The Holy See shares an interest in these principles.
Questions of security, development, reducing inequality, and care of the environment require collective action in good faith for the common good. While scientific and technological advances can be of great help, some can rob the human person and the family of their identity. He called on the international community to act with juridical means when needed to safeguard human rights.
The Holy Father spoke of the critical importance of protecting human rights, noting the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Promoting human rights is the most effective strategy for reducing inequality and increasing security. Human rights are not simply a matter of law, but of justice, based in the natural law written on the human heart.
Once again, the Holy Father spoke of the importance of dialogue between religions as a way of building consensus in service of the common good. He emphasized the importance of freedom of religion in its public as well as its private dimension.

Pope Benedict said that the Catholic Church wishes to offer her proper contribution to international relations, making available her centuries of experience. He concluded his address by greeting the assembly in all the official languages of the United Nations, wishing them peace and prosperity with God’s help.
The assembly responded to his address with a standing ovation.

.....................April Breakfast Meeting -

The Guest Speaker at the April Breakfast meeting was the Minister Plenipotentiary and Head of the Economic Department of the German Mission to the United Nations Victoria Zimmerman Von Siefart. She has worked with the German Foreign Service since 1985 and has an impressive backgroung of heading Foreign Service Departs in London, Philippines, Switzerland and New York. Ms. Zimmerman Von Siefart was born in Bombay, India and was educated in The Netherlands and Germany, and studied in Paris, Freiburg im Breisgau, and Bonn.
According to the Economic and Sustainable Development Commision, efforts to reduce poverty and improve food security in developing countries are hampered by declining support for strong agricultural growth, long considered a hallmark of successful poverty reduction strategies, according to the 2008 Trends in Sustainable Development report published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The report highlights recent trends in agriculture, rural development, land, desertification and drought – five of the six themes being considered by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its 16th and 17th sessions (2008-2009).
Strong agricultural growth is four times more effective than growth in other sectors in benefiting the poorest half of the population, the report finds. However, while many developing countries have posted gains in agricultural production, distribution and exports, people living in areas of high inequality and in isolation from the broader economy typically benefit little from them.
Recent Food Crisis and Price Increase
The United Nations Secretary-General established a Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis under his chairmanship and composed of the heads of the United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes, Bretton Woods institutions and relevant parts of the UN Secretariat. The primary aim of the Task Force is to promote a unified response to the global food price challenge, including by facilitating the creation of a prioritized plan of action and coordinating its implementation. The Secretary-General appointed UN Under-Secretary-General John Holmes as Task Force Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General David Nabarro as Deputy Coordinator
More Support for Africa
The second meeting of the MDGs Africa Steering Group was held at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 March 2008 reviewed a first set of draft recommendations from the MDG Africa Working Group, and proposed that African Governments work, with support from the international community, to:
launch an African Green Revolution to accelerate economic growth and combat hunger;
implement comprehensive school feeding programmes using locally produced food and ensuring coverage of micronutrients;
achieve the Education for All Goals by 2015, including gender parity at all levels, and implementing the Action Plan for the Second Decade on Education;
control infectious diseases;
ensure access to emergency obstetric care for all women by 2015;
provide family planning services for all by 2015;
meet the water supply and sanitation MDG targets;
make critical infrastructure investments in power, transportation, water and sanitation to raise productivity, ensure low-cost service delivery, and integrate Africa into the global economy; and
implement the Marrakesh Action Plan for Statistics.