3 June 2013

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

Secretary-General, at Conference Thematic Session, Stresses ‘Hard Truths’

of Persisting Poverty, Food Insecurity, High Mortality Rates in Africa

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) thematic session “Towards the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, in Yokohama, Japan, on 2 June:

Minasama, ohayo gozaimasu (“Good morning, everyone”).  Thank you for attending this important session on Africa’s priorities in the post-2015 development agenda.

We have a great deal to celebrate as we look back on 13 years of the Millennium Development Goals.  The big picture is encouraging:  sustained growth, a commodity boom, recovery in many countries.  Now, we have to look ahead — and face the hard truths.

Progress has been unequal, depending upon the country.  Poverty persists.  Food insecurity affects millions of Africans.  We see high maternal and child mortality rates in too many places throughout the continent.

We have fewer than 1,000 days to reach the Millennium Development Goal target — December 2015.  TICAD V should galvanize action to help the world live up to our pledge to end poverty, educate children, empower women and provide health services for all.  I count on our Japanese partners to help lead the way.  When we speed up progress on the Millennium Development Goals, we set the stage for success on the post-2015 development agenda.

Her Excellency President [Ellen] Johnson-Sirleaf, along with the other two co-chairs of the High-level Panel, has just presented me with their report, which I had submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations and has received wide appreciation and support from the Member States.  The President knows better than anyone that Africa’s concerns must be addressed in our post-2015 framework.  I thank her and congratulate her on being selected to chair a committee of Heads of State and Government on the post-2015 development agenda.

The Panel worked very hard for almost a year.  At the same time, the United Nations organized national consultations in nearly 90 countries, including three dozen in Africa.  More than half a million people shared their ideas through our global online survey “MyWorld”.  More than half of them were from Africa.  I am delighted by this high interest among Africans.  I am committed to ensuring that the final agenda reflects their concerns.

This broad engagement is essential as we shape a vision for how people can live better lives in the future.  The process of creating a framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals offers a chance to transform our approach to international development.  Our goal is to expand on the strengths of the Millennium Development Goals and empower people while protecting our planet.

Sustainable development lies at the heart of this universal agenda.  We are aiming to create a more just world where all people live in dignity.  This requires that both South and North alike change the ways their economies work.

We hope that the High-level Panel is part of a global dialogue on how to usher in the future we want.  This dialogue continues — here at TICAD, across Africa and around the world.

I welcome your contributions, and I count on your engagement as we lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future.

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For information media • not an official record