22 September 2010

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

When Spotlights Are Switched Off, Says Secretary-General as Millennium Development


Goals Summit Closes, World Attention Quickly Moves on; ‘We Cannot Let that Happen’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, in New York, today, 22 September: 


This summit has laid a solid foundation for the progress we need in our quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the internationally agreed deadline of 2015.

Through the participation of a large number of Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from civil society, the private sector and the philanthropic community, this event has galvanized worldwide attention.  The summit outcome document sends a clear sign that you remain committed to the Goals even in a difficult international environment.

Special thanks go to Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly, and to Excellency Joseph Deiss, President of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, and the co-chairs of the round tables.  I also commend the organizers and participants of the more than 80 side events, which added great vibrancy to the summit.

The two co-facilitators — Ambassador Staur of Denmark and Ambassador Badji of Senegal — worked tirelessly over the past few months to reach agreement on the summit outcome document.

Last but not least, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the distinguished members of the MDG Advocacy Group.  Their participation has brought a new level of hope to the MDG action agenda.  That agenda gives us a road map for dramatically accelerating Millennium Development Goals progress.

Many of you have already committed to launch new initiatives.  Others have pledged to do so in the near future.  I am very encouraged to know that many Member States used the summit to announce concrete support.

All the key issues and ideas have been on the table — part of the discussion — and now part of the outcome document.  Jobs, especially green jobs.  Inclusive and sustainable development.  The need for a successful Doha Trade Round outcome.  Smallholder farming, food and nutrition security.  Inclusive financial services.  Women’s health and empowerment.  A rejuvenated global partnership.

All of this and more is where it should be, at the forefront of our attention as we ready ourselves for the push that begins now, this very minute.

In the past, we have seen that when the spotlights are switched off, world attention quickly moves on to other issues.  With only five years left, we cannot let that happen.  Between now and 2015, we must make sure that promises made become promises kept.  The consequences of doing otherwise are profound: death, illness and despair, needless suffering, lost opportunities for millions upon millions of people.

We must hold each other accountable.  The United Nations system and I personally will do our utmost to promote accountability on all sides.  The Millennium Development Goals were never meant to be a one-way street — something that rich countries do for poor ones.  Quite the contrary: our long-standing work for development in general has always been based on global solidarity — on a shared interest — on a powerful sense of community and linked fates in an interconnected world.

Much as our focus has been on 2015, in a rapidly changing international environment we must also look ahead, beyond the deadline for the Goals.  And so, in response to your request in the outcome document, I intend to initiate a process that will result in a post-2015 framework for the development work of the United Nations.  I ask that all of you also consider the long-term, even as you intensify your efforts to achieve the Goals in the next five years.

Thank you again for your role in making this Summit a great success.  Thank you very much.

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For information media • not an official record