25 September 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom and Bill Gates, Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at Headquarters today, 25 September:

Thank you very much for your presence here at the conclusion of this very successful day.

Today, we did something special.  We brought together a broad coalition for change.

We have new partners -- national leaders, CEOs, civil society groups, non-governmental organizations and philanthropists.

Prime Minister Brown estimated this morning that today’s event has generated around $16 billion.  And I think we are right [to say] that we have full commitment from many countries in pledges to help the world’s poor.  Around $16 billion were announced, but for the exact pledges we will have to evaluate the announcements made and get back to you later.  If so, that expression of global commitment would be all the more remarkable because it comes against a backdrop of financial crisis.

This brand of global leadership -- these global partnerships -- is the way of the future.

Let me mention just a few examples.

Prime Minister Brown and Bill Gates, with the World Bank and others, announced today a $1 billion plan to save the lives of 10 million mothers and children by the year 2015.

Norway pledged $1 billion to fight deforestation in the Amazon, working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  The goal: to create financial incentives for local communities to preserve rather than cut their forests.

China pledged to double the number of agricultural technicians it sends to developing countries and to train 10,000 doctors and nurses.

The Gates Foundation, the Howard Buffett Foundation and the Government of Belgium will collaborate with the World Food Programme (WFP) to help poor farmers of Africa.  Under this truly innovative pilot programme, WFP will purchase crops from local farmers under long-term contracts.  Farmers, who until now had to make do with ad hoc arrangements, will now get the money they need up front to invest in fertilizers, seeds and new technology.  This will permanently increase agricultural production.

Lastly, we are seeing truly extraordinary advances on malaria.  A remarkable partnership -- with unified funding, coordinated management and top-notch science -- has brought us within range of containing a disease that kills a child every 30 seconds.

Joining together in a Global Malaria Action Plan, our partners pledged $3 billion to save the lives of more than 4 million people by 2015.

This is global leadership -- global partnership -- in action.

It is a model for how to achieve all the other Millennium Development Goals — health care, education, nutrition.

We also have received $4.5 million for the class of 2015.

I think we all can agree that this year’s high-level event on the Millennium Development Goals has exceeded our most optimistic expectations.  I thank all who joined in making it possible.

I now turn the floor [over] to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


Question:  My name is Irabiha.  I’m from Mauritania.  There’s something I’d like to tell you on behalf of Mauritanian civil society, to which I belong, and I’m also a journalist.  We are a poor country and we know what poverty means.  Three women die in childbirth every day, children don’t go to school.  We have tremendous difficulties that you, Mr. Secretary-General, are well aware of.

But what’s most important is your attitude, the deciders, the UN, when you wave around the weapon of aid, when there’s turbulence in the rest of the country, when we have political problems, what we want is for you to support us and to help us reach our goals, but how can we attain them in a country like Mauritania?

The Secretary-General:  First of all, to make economic and political development possible, there should be political stability.  That is what the United Nations and all the international community are working on together to insure peace and stability in countries.  We have seen many difficult and different situations, according to where you are coming from.  Mauritania may be one such example.  Recently, there has been political instability because of this military coup d’état.  It is very important that the people be able to have freedom of expression and free political association.  At the same time, they should be able to engage in economic and social activities.  For that to be possible, there should be peace and security.  That’s what we are doing.  Therefore, the three pillars -- peace and security, development and human rights -- those three pillars should always be upheld and should go hand in hand.  The UN will continue to encourage democratization and, at the same time, economic and social development through the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.

Today, I think we made a great success:  all the leaders of the international community committed to, first of all, demonstrate their political leadership, and mobilize necessary resources.  We have a $16 billion announcement of pledges.  This is very encouraging and I hope we’ll be able to, first of all, raise and galvanize political will and mobilize more resources, until we will be able to claim that we hit the target of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

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For information media • not an official record