16 September 2010

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

Secretary-General, Launching 2010 Millennium Development Goals Gap Task


Force Report, Says Findings Should Spur Summit into Urgent Action


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the press briefing to launch the 2010 report of the Millennium Development Goals Gap Task Force, in New York today, 16 September:

I am pleased to be with you today to share the findings of the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Gap Task Force Report.  In keeping with our commitment to new technology, I am pleased to tell you that the report is also available as an e-book.

I created the task force in 2007 to assess progress on Goal 8:  the global partnership for development.  This year’s report focuses largely and necessarily on the impact of the global economic crisis.  It shows that the upheaval has caused further shortfalls on aid, trade and debt, and on affordable access to medicines and technology.

Although official development assistance (ODA) is at an all-time high, we are $20 billion short on commitments made for this year.  Africa accounts for 80 per cent of that gap; that means $16 billion.  It is particularly distressing that the place of greatest need is also the place that accounts for the lion’s share of the shortfall.

Global trade has begun to recover.  But it is unclear whether we will see the type of trade growth we saw before the crisis — and which we need again to create jobs and income opportunities.

Substantial progress has been made in providing debt relief to the poorest nations.  But many remain at high risk of debt distress, and existing initiatives are expiring.

On medicines, rising prices are further hampering access.  Governments and pharmaceutical companies must work together to make medicines affordable for all.

Although progress has been made in increasing access to new technologies, especially with respect to the Internet and in mobile telephones, the digital divide remains large.  The private sector has an obvious role to play here, too.

We also need to see large public and private investments and incentives for technologies for renewable energy production, energy efficiency and environmental protection — in particular those that fight climate change.  Commitments made at Copenhagen need to be fulfilled.

Taken as a whole, this report paints a picture that should motivate world leaders to act with urgency at next week’s Summit.  But while the gaps are serious, let us not be daunted by them.  Despite setbacks, shortfalls and obstacles, we have the tools and the resources to achieve the Goals by 2015.  We know what works.

Already, there has been tremendous progress, thanks to a combination of sound national strategies and international support.  I urge world leaders to renew their commitment to the global partnership for development.  We must not balance our budgets on the backs of the poor.

By investing in the Millennium Development Goals, we invest in global economic growth.  Global economic recovery depends on growth in developing countries.  By focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable, we lay the foundation for a more sustainable and prosperous tomorrow.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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For information media • not an official record