At the Closing of the Informal Interactive Hearings with Non-Governmental Organizations And the Private Sector
New York, 14 June 2010
Distinguished Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society and the Private Sector,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have come to the end of two days of informal interactive hearings on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. I warmly thank all of you – representatives of civil society and private sector organizations – for coming to New York to share with Member States and the UN system your vision and your ideas for realizing the Millennium Development Goals. We have heard powerful testimonies from those whose lives are most affected by poverty and hunger: farmers, women, young people, workers, persons affected by HIV/AIDS and many others. We have been presented with ambitious recommendations from organizations who are working tirelessly to promote the Millennium Development Goals in the field. I thank Member States for engaging with civil society and private sector organizations in an informal exchange and for listening to their testimonies and recommendations.
One message in particular has resonated during these meetings: So little time is left before the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and much more needs to be done to realize them in time. Encouragingly, there was clear agreement here in the room that the MDGs are achievable, and that failure is not acceptable.
I was particularly struck by the urgency expressed by you on halving world poverty. The global financial and economic crisis has pushed hundreds of millions more into poverty. I heard the repeated emphasis on small-holder agriculture and private enterprises to generate employment and reducing poverty.
Universal access to primary education and the possibility to complete one’s education remains key to sustained development, especially for young girls. We have heard of the daily struggle by millions of people to gain access to decent health services, which could easily improve maternal and child health.
We have heard testimonies of women and young girls who carry a disproportionate share of the cost of development but who often see fewer of its benefits. Violence against women, higher numbers of women infected with HIV, large numbers of single-headed households and small farm holdings headed by women are powerful reminders of pervasive inequalities which threaten to undermine the Millennium Development Goals.
We have heard from farmers whose livelihood is threatened by global climate change. We have heard calls for greater transparency and accountability in realizing the Millennium Development Goals and for greater fairness in the international trading system. We have been reminded of the importance of human rights, good governance and good policies as the foundation for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially in protecting vulnerable communities. The Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved by any single actor alone. We are all in this together, as witnessed by these hearings.
We take these important messages from civil society and the private sector to heart as we prepare for the Millennium Development Goals Summit in September and I call on Member States to redouble their efforts during this process in order to present our Heads of State and Government with an agreed draft outcome document that will give strong impetus to the remaining five years of hard work. I will provide Member States with a Summary of these hearings, which will be issued as an official document of the General Assembly. I encourage Member States to use this summary as a point of reference and a source of inspiration for scaling up our efforts to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.