Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Remarks to Member States on "Keeping the Promise: a Forward-looking Review to Promote and Agreed Action Agend to Achieve the MDGs by 2015"

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly, 16 March 2010

Ambassador Hackett of Barbados, [Acting President of the General Assembly],

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for organising this very important meeting this morning.


I am pleased to present “Keeping the Promise”, my report for September's High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.

Before beginning I would like to particularly thank our co-facilitators, Ambassadors, their Excellencies, Carsten Staur of Denmark and Paul Badji of Senegal for their commitment and leadership, and I count on their continued leadership.

Five years from the agreed target date of 2015, we stand at a crossroads.

Many countries have achieved remarkable progress.

But many others are struggling.

The challenge is still immense. The financial and economic crisis, the food crisis, climate change and natural disasters threaten to reverse hard-won gains.

The Summit is an opportunity to keep our promise to billions, yes, billions, of poor and vulnerable people.

This is our common responsibility: Governments, civil society, the private sector, social and religious movements, the UN itself. It is a practical necessity and a moral imperative.

The Millennium Declaration gave us the promise -- the pledge by world leaders to spare no effort to build a fairer, more sustainable world.

The MDGs gave us the framework.

My report aims to point the way forward... to reinvigorate our efforts... and to strengthen the global partnership.

It reviews successes, best practices and lessons learnt.

It identifies obstacles, gaps and opportunities.

It suggests ways to accelerate progress.

It provides a sound starting point for your efforts to reach agreement at the Summit on an agenda for action from now until 2015.

That agenda should be specific, practical, and results-oriented, with concrete steps and timelines.

And it must set out who does what, so that we can monitor our efforts and promote accountability for individuals and institutions alike.

As preparations for the Summit now begin in earnest, I will pursue a three-part strategy for the MDGs and internationally agreed development goals.

First, the United Nations system will focus on proven, cost-effective initiatives that can be scaled up. We know what works, and what doesn't.

Second, I will press Governments to participate actively in the Summit and its preparatory process. Political momentum is of critical importance.

Third, the United Nations will strengthen our efforts to raise public awareness. People everywhere must see that reaching the goals is in everyone's common interest.

Quite a few countries have successfully reduced extreme poverty, hunger and the prevalence of contagious diseases.

Some of these successes have been attained by the poorest countries.

Between 1999 and 2004, sub-Saharan Africa has achieved one of the largest-ever reductions in deaths from measles.

The region also showed the fastest growth in primary school enrolment: from 58 to 74 per cent within a decade, mainly through the abolition of school fees.

Malawi has doubled agricultural production. Millennium Villages are showcasing the great impact of smart, targeted interventions.

We are seeing how to make the most of new technologies. We are beginning to reap the benefits of new national development policies.

We have seen that when you empower women, with an integrated strategy for health care, education, agriculture and small business, you can change the world.

The message is clear: with the right policies, adequate investment and international support, enormous challenges can be overcome.

Yet progress has been very uneven.

The least developed countries, especially those vulnerable to natural hazards, face great obstacles. So do countries that are in or emerging from conflict.

Gains on some goals has been particularly difficult -- none more so than maternal health.

But the shortfalls have occurred not because the goals are unreachable, or because time is too short. We are off course because of unmet commitments, inadequate resources and a lack of focus and accountability.

The MDG Summit is an opportunity to do better.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Goals are based on a compact, on solidarity and on an enlightened sense of the shared, global interest. To achieve them, a division of labour was accepted by all.

Developing countries were to do their utmost on the first seven goals.

Improving governance; empowering women; putting every possible domestic capacity to work for health, education, jobs and other priorities -- this was their responsibility, in keeping with the bedrock principle of national ownership.

And indeed, many are doing just this, with results. But as much as developing countries are doing on their own, international support was and remains crucial. That is why a global partnership for development was enshrined as goal eight.

Just as developing countries must continue to do their part, so must we strengthen the global partnership for development.

That means more resources. Although official development assistance reached its highest level ever in 2008, there remain large gaps, especially with respect toAfrica. And let me be clear: we need no new commitments here; we need only make good on the commitments that have long been in place.

The partnership means technology. We have already seen how cellphones and Internet access are revolutionizing microfinance and entrepreneurship across the developing world.

It means a supportive international trade regime that works for people, not against them -- and which could generate resources that dwarf aid.

The September Summit must reinvigorate this compact, that sense of moral solidarity.

If we don't, if we fall short, all the dangers of our world will grow more perilous still.

The MDGs have sparked a remarkable, global mobilization. Rarely have so many organizations -- from the global to the grass roots -- agreed on a common agenda. Rarely have so many individuals -- citizens and CEOs, philanthropists and political leaders -- found such common ground.

We must realize the great potential of this global coalition... this global movement.

In six months, the international community must come together to act. Let's keep our promise and turn the MDGs into a reality for all.

Thank you very much.