|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Deputy Secretary-General, Addressing High-Level Economic and Social Council Talks,
Calls for Greater Momentum in Race to Achieve Millennium Development Goals
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the Special High-Level Meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, World Trade Organization and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in New York today, 18 March:
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I would like to join the President of the Economic and Social Council in welcoming you to this Special High-level Meeting.
We have come together today to mobilize action and resources within the Financing for Development process to achieve the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs].
Now is the time. In September, world leaders will meet here in New York to identify a concrete, action-oriented plan to achieve the MDGs by the target date of 2015. This meeting, together with the High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development next week, will provide crucial inputs.
Earlier this week, the Secretary-General released his report entitled Keeping the Promise.
The report points out that progress towards the MDGs has been uneven, both across goals and regions. The global financial and economic crisis, as well as the food crisis, have compounded the challenge. At the same time, we know the world possesses the knowledge and the resources to achieve the MDGs.
The last decade has shown that the combination of sound national development strategies, investment in human capital and increased international support can lead to remarkable progress. Today’s dialogue offers an important opportunity to generate greater momentum.
Above all, we must focus on the needs of the poorest countries. Multiple crises, natural disasters, as well as the challenges posed by climate change have pushed many nations into emergency situations that are not of their making. These countries need immediate coordinated comprehensive support that helps them follow a sustainable path of recovery, rehabilitation and long-term development. The terrible toll in Haiti is a painful reminder that measures to reduce disaster risk remain essential for achieving the MDGs in vulnerable countries.
Experience has shown that targeted interventions for the poorest, such as access to vaccines and medicine, free school meals for children or agricultural support, have powerful multiplier effects. These measures will go farthest if they are accompanied by long-term national development strategies, international support measures and systemic changes. This requires the implementation of the global commitments enshrined in the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development.
The international community has recognized that developing countries have the primary responsibility for their own development.
Indeed, many developing countries, including those with special needs, have continued to implement economic reforms, through sound macroeconomic policies, improved governance and increased public expenditures, especially on infrastructure. However, inequality, social exclusion and lack of participation persist and hamper national development efforts.
The Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration have, therefore, reaffirmed the need for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Promotion of gender-responsive public management of resources and budgeting, as well as increasing the voice of women at all levels of decision-making, must remain high on the agenda.
At the same time, donors must redouble their efforts to fulfil their ODA [official development assistance] commitments. Aid flows must provide budget support to developing countries so that they can have sufficient policy space to invest in education, health, infrastructure and capacity-building. New and innovative sources of development finance should be explored and scaled up.
Developing countries have been hit hard by the decline in world trade that resulted from the world financial and economic crisis. Public revenues of commodity exporters have suffered particularly from price volatility and depressed demand. These developments underscore the importance of international trade in financing development, and the urgency to complete the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in 2010.
The Round needs to deliver on its development objectives, including effective market access for agriculture and exports of developing countries, the elimination of all export subsidies and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support. The Doha Declaration has also called for greater provision of grants and concessional loans, given the imperative of ensuring debt sustainability and reaching development goals. Moreover, efforts to develop an equitable and orderly international debt workout mechanism to prevent future crises need to be expedited.
Finally, the crisis has also led to an intensification of efforts to reform the international financial system and architecture. These efforts should be well-financed and internationally coordinated, and should help the world move towards a more equitable, stable and development-oriented international financial system. They should also build on recent steps to fully include developing and transition countries in international economic decision-making and norm-setting.
Together, let us make the most of your discussions and the September Summit. Let us seize the opportunity to build a brighter, more secure and more prosperous future for all people.
I wish you a most productive and successful meeting.
* *** *For information media • not an official record