11 November 2010

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

Secretary-General, at Republic of Korea Parliament’s Millennium Goals Forum,

Stresses That Promises on Targets Must Be Kept, despite Scepticism


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks as delivered to the Millennium Development Goals Forum of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea:

I’d like to particularly thank the Co-Chairs of the Korean National Assembly’s Millennium Development Goals Forum, Chairman Lee Ju-young, Chairman Lee Sang-min, Chairman Lee Nak-yun.  There are three “Lees” here.  Thank you very much for your commitment, and that of distinguished members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea.

It’s a great honour for me to participate in this important event organized by the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea.  As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am deeply grateful for your strong commitment and leadership.

This is exactly the leadership which we want from the Republic of Korea.  The Republic of Korea is now on the rise.  Korea is now going global and now I really congratulate the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea to have chaired this G-20 Summit meeting, the first ever to be held in Asia, and the first ever to be held by a non-G-8 country.  This is quite significant and I commend the visionary leadership of President Lee Myung-bak and the strong support of the Korean Government.

As one of the Korean citizens, and serving as United Nations Secretary-General, you can understand how much, immensely, I’m honoured and proud of seeing my motherland Korea now rising, on the move.  And I [inaudible]

Korea is now fulfilling its role as a bridge builder, a vital link between the developed and developing world, a crucial connector between the work of the G-20 and the rest of the globe — the United Nations.

This is a major event since the Millennium Development Goals Summit Meeting, which was held in September at the United Nations, which I convened.  World leaders, at least 140 Heads of State and Government, came to the United Nations and renewed their strong political commitment that this blueprint which was adopted by themselves in 2000 must be achieved by 2015.  We have only five years left and we need strong political support.

There is some scepticism on whether this can be achieved.  I believe that with strong political leadership and good policies targeted towards the right people, right areas and smart investment and adequate financial resources support, I’m sure that this is doable.  This is achievable.  That is what we are seeing now, here, right in this place, from the Korean National Assembly.  I believe that promises made must be promises kept.  This is a very important part of accountability.

We need your strong support particularly as I believe in the power and authority of parliamentarians who enact and approve budgets.  I count on your strong leadership.  However good policies President Lee and his Cabinet Ministers may have, without your support, these Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved.  That is why I have always been asking and urging the importance of strong political leadership.  I hope I can have this assurance from members of the Korean parliament on this strong leadership.

Now I congratulate the Korean Government and the people for joining the Development Assistance Committee — DAC of [the] Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  I highly commend the leadership and commitment of the Korean National Assembly’s Millennium Development Goals Forum.  I again appreciate Ambassador Dho [Young-shim] for your very generous support.  For this, thank you, “Small Library”.  And I know that she has established at least 80 “small libraries” which have been very much appreciated by many young Korean people.

But I believe that the world expects even higher and more support from Korea.  By any category or by any standard, Korea now stands within the 15 largest economies, with the strong political maturity and democratic development.  Now Korea has now become an idol — a model role for the whole world.  Now this is the right time for Korea to lead by example by expanding your official development assistance (ODA).  I must note that the current level of Korea’s official development assistance is the lowest among OECD countries.  I count again on the leadership from your country of Korea – my country.

Your engagement is critical.  You can turn national commitment into complete action and this is what I really ask you today, not just as Secretary-General of the United Nations, but as one compatriot, one citizen of the Republic of Korea.  I appeal to your leadership.  By doing so, Korea can show its commitment to protect [the] human rights of the vulnerable and enhance its own public health through other safeguard measures.

Finally, I have a message for the young people here.  You are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.  We are the leaders of today.  You must be and should be prepared to take over all these challenges from tomorrow.  For that, look beyond Korea, beyond the Korean peninsula, beyond Asia; look for the world.  There are many more things which you can do and there are many things where people are looking to you.

Again, thank you very much for your leadership, and your love and support for the United Nations and for me as Secretary-General.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record