|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Commencing Five-Country Africa Tour, Secretary-General Salutes Mozambique’s Twenty
Years of Peace, Progress, Development towards ‘Future of Hope’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Round Table Event on the Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda, as prepared for delivery, in Maputo, on 20 May:
I am delighted to be with you. You have so much to be proud of. Twenty years of peace. Twenty years of progress. Twenty years of development. You are building the foundations for a future of hope.
Today, I would like to talk about that future. Last year, at the Rio+20 Conference, the Governments of the world reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable development. The outcome document — a far-reaching road map — is called “the future we want”.
What is the future we want? A future of peace and stability where all people can enjoy their fundamental human rights. A future free from extreme poverty and hunger. A future of equal opportunities for all — for health, well-being and prosperity on a healthy planet. The future we want is a global vision.
All countries have a role to play. All people stand to benefit. But, those who stand to benefit most — those who are in most urgent need — are the people of the least developed countries — countries like Mozambique.
That is why I am happy to be here today, because your story has all the elements — the challenges and the solutions — to inspire a world that wants to know that sustainable development is possible.
Every story has to have a beginning. We could start with independence in 1975. Or in 1992, when 16 years of terrible conflict finally came to an end. But, I would like to start my story by looking back to the turn of this century. The year 2000. I am sure you remember it well. Mozambique suffered its heaviest floods in living memory.
Around the world, people were transfixed by television images of people scrambling to escape the rising waters — huddled on small patches of higher ground, on roofs, even in trees. Their desperate plight was a moving reminder of the fragility of development — how easily hard-won gains can be reversed. As the flood waters were subsiding, another story was unfolding half way around the world.
In the conference rooms of the United Nations, diplomats were preparing for the Millennium Summit. That Summit gave birth to the Millennium Development Goals — eight concise objectives with clear targets and benchmarks. The MDGs were a pledge — a global promise — to help countries like Mozambique to drastically cut poverty and hunger, to reduce vulnerability, to empower women and girls, to improve the health of people and the environment.
Some cynics expected the MDGs to be abandoned. Some said they were too ambitious. They were wrong. The MDGs have mobilized Governments as never before. They have catalysed dynamic new partnerships. And — most important — they have achieved results. Today, 600 million people have risen from extreme poverty. Conditions are better for 200 million people living in slums. A record number of children are in primary school — with an equal number of girls and boys for the first time. More women and babies are surviving childbirth. Investments in fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have saved millions of lives.
Here in Mozambique, most children are getting early schooling. Women are becoming empowered as never before. Nearly 40 per cent of parliamentarians and 30 per cent of Mozambique’s ministers and vice-ministers are female. You have doubled the number of children who live beyond the age of five. You are improving access to water and sanitation.
Around the world, wherever we look, the MDGs have brought success. But not complete success. Achievements vary among and within countries. Globally, we are lagging badly on some targets — especially sanitation, which poses a major threat to the health of people and the environment.
As we look forward to the post-2015 development agenda, our first task is to fulfil — as far as possible — the promise of the MDGs. There are less than 1,000 days to go before the end of 2015. Less than 1,000 days of action. We must focus on where we are falling short and accelerate momentum.
In Mozambique, despite your successes, more than half the population is below the national poverty line. More than 40 per cent of children are stunted or undernourished. Half of all women cannot read. HIV/AIDS is still a major challenge. And, too, many women still die needlessly in childbirth.
But, you know your challenges. You and the Government are acting on them and the UN is proud to work alongside you. Your economy is growing rapidly. You are immensely rich in natural resources. With careful stewardship of this wealth, with wise leadership, Mozambique can accelerate its forward progress for the benefit of all. By investing in essential infrastructure and its people — its small farmers, its children, its teachers — Mozambique can be an example for Africa and the world.
I will carry your inspiration with me in two day’s time when I travel to the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There I will join the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. We will meet with President [Joseph] Kabila to talk about how our two organizations can help to foster peace and accelerate development in the Great Lakes region. From Kinshasa, we will travel to Goma in the east and then on to Rwanda and Uganda.
Mozambique, Rwanda and Uganda have all shown that it is possible to recover from conflict and progress towards the MDGs. It is now time for the DRC to follow their example — and the example of many other countries in this dynamic forward-looking continent.
Countries in conflict cannot prosper. But, countries at peace can plan for the future — the future we want. The MDGs have given focus and momentum to Africa’s development. Our task now is to build on that momentum.
Next week I will receive the report of my High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, led by President [Susilo Bambang] Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President [Ellen] Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, and Prime Minister [David] Cameron of the United Kingdom.
Let me today personally thank Mrs. Graça Machel for her valuable contribution. I also thank the Foundation for Community Development for leading the post-2015 consultation process here in Mozambique and for organizing this round table.
I want this to be the most inclusive global development process the world has ever known. Development, after all, is about people. People must be in the driver’s seat and their voices need to be heard. Their aspirations and ambitions must shape our policies and goals. That is why the Panel’s consultations have been wide-ranging and inclusive, with the participation of all sectors of society from all regions. Its findings will feed into my own Post-2015 report, which I will present to the General Assembly in September.
My report, and the results of other national, regional and global consultations being conducted by the UN system, will be made available to Member States as they work to define a set of sustainable development goals.
It is still too early to speak of specific goals and targets, but broad consensus is emerging on some key issues. First is the need for a single universal development agenda that is truly global with shared responsibilities for all countries. We need a road map for eradicating poverty and building a sustainable future for all — a long-term vision for people and the planet.
Second, the road map must have policy coherence at all levels, but with ample space for local adaptation. One size does not fit all. The end product must have the three dimensions of sustainable development at its centre — social, economic and environmental. And it must address the special needs of conflict-affected and fragile States and communities.
Third, we need a limited number of clear, concise, easy-to-communicate and inspiring goals supported by precise targets and indicators. This has been the key to the success of the MDGs. By identifying key enablers — for example women’s and children’s health, quality education or sustainable energy for all — we can address a range of development needs.
Fourth, we need to continue to strengthen the global partnership for development. It is particularly important that we do not allow budgetary constraints to further erode official development assistance (ODA). I will continue to advocate for countries to pursue the 0.7 per cent ODA target. The renewed global partnership must also reflect the rising importance of emerging economies, and the increasing role of the private sector, philanthropic organizations and civil society.
Fifth, we must address the clear and present danger of climate change, which threatens to roll back development gains and is placing future objectives in jeopardy. Mozambique is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Just this year, you endured more devastating floods. Climate change needs to be brought to the top of leaders’ agendas. That is why, next year, I am convening a high-level meeting in New York to secure political will towards a universal, legally binding global climate agreement.
The road to the future we want will be long and hard. As you sing in the national anthem: Pedra a pedra construindo um novo dia. [Rock by rock constructing the new day.]
It will demand the commitment of leaders everywhere — from the most powerful nations to the least developed countries. And it will need the engagement of all actors in society — from village chiefs to political leaders, from the youth to the heads of multinational corporations.
Civil society will have an important role to play — both in holding Governments to account and in generating support among communities for the transformations that will be necessary. Each country will have its own agenda, its own priorities that link to a holistic post-2015 vision.
Developed nations need to alter unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and cut greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. Developing nations need to find a sustainable development path that reduces poverty and increases well-being for all without further overburdening the planet.
Mozambique is on the right track, and the United Nations is committed to walking with you, side by side, hand in hand. You are the first stop in a five-country journey through Africa. My last destination is the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There, I will join the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the Organization of African Unity and the African Union. The theme is the rebirth of Africa.
Throughout Africa, we see growth. Economies are growing. Freedom and good governance are growing. Confidence is growing. This is what I see in Mozambique. A country reborn. A nation on the move. A people with confidence in the future — the future we want.
* *** *For information media • not an official record