At the Informal Meeting of the General Assembly in Preparation for the 2010 High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals
New York, 4 March 2010
Madame Deputy Secretary-General
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to welcome you to this meeting, which resumes the process for the preparation of the 2010 High Level Meeting. The task before us is to reach consensus on the ways and means that will allow all of us achieve the MDGs by 2015. While the task is daunting, I believe that with the commitments made by all, developed and developing countries, we still have the chance of making the progress we all aspire for. I am hopeful that by the end of this process of consultations, we will agree on a road map that will chart our collective efforts for the coming 5 years.
More than one billion people live in extreme poverty today. They go without food or do not have enough food. They do not have access to sanitation and clean water, education or to basic health services. Hundreds of millions of people live in slums. These are more than just statistics and we should not forget this. We in New York and in capitals around the world talk about poverty, but billions of people are living it.
The eight Millennium Development Goals provide specific targets for governments to achieve by 2015 as part of our collective aspiration to build a world without poverty. In the Millennium Declaration we pledged to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty.”Much progress has been made since the signing of the Declaration. Development strategies in many countries incorporate the MDGs. Hundreds of millions of girls are now in primary education and primary school enrolment is up. For example and despite the Asian financial crisis and the tsunami, Indonesia has already achieved the target to halve extreme poverty. But sadly, globally, there has been little progress in reducing maternal mortality, and there are mixed results on other Goals.
However, due to the global financial and economic downturn, some gains have been reversed, while the achievement of all of the goals by 2015 is now under threat. This crisis, coupled with the negative effects of climate change and higher food and energy prices, have pushed millions of more people into poverty. It has exposed the unfairness in the global economy and it has also shown how closely integrated and dependent we are on one another. Recent devastating disasters in Haiti and Chile have painfullyreminded us of how natural disasterscan reverse progress on MDGs.
The High-Level Plenary Meeting planned for September this year could not come at a better time. It is important that this Summit is a success because it is the last chance for the international community to act together to make the final push towards achieving all of the Goals. This Summit offers a platform for world leaders to collectively restore the optimism that the Goals can be achieved by 2015 and that millions of people can be lifted out of poverty. In order to do so, I would like to urge that special attention is placed on the challenges faced by countries in Africa and the least developed countries which continue to stay trapped in the cycle of poverty.
In preparing for the Summit, I urge each and every Member State to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress they have made to reach each of the eight Goals, to ask whether they have done enough to reduce poverty, to tackle those goals which are lagging far behind, and to give real meaning to the idea of a new global partnership. Financial constraints in donor countries have reduced levels of development assistance while revenue collected by developing governments has also declined. I strongly urge donor governments to honour their commitments made at Gleneagles and L’Aquila, and I encourage the governments of the emerging economies to strengthen their partnerships with less developed economies. However, resources are not enough and they are not the only factor for success. Sound policy frameworks, progress on governance, and creative solutions are also essential.
I thank the Secretary-General for his report which will be issued soon and will provide a sound basis for Member States to begin their consultations. All parts of the UN are also providing support to the Goals. I urge Member States to take advantage of the experience and knowledge that the UN system has, and I ask the UN to share their expertise with Member States. With this in mind, I have requested the facilitators to organise interactive sessions with the UN funds, programmes and agencies and I am pleased that they are launching this process.
I have also started the process of preparing for the two day informal interactive hearings with non-governmental organizations, civil society and private sector, which I hope will substantially contribute to the successful organization and outcome of the High-Level Meeting in September. A Trust Fund has been established to enhance the participation of representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society from developing countries in the hearings, the details of which will soon be shared.
I am pleased that the two co-facilitators agreed to continue their work to guide Member States in the lead up to the summit. I urge all Member States to extend their full support and cooperation to the Permanent Representatives of Denmark and Senegal. I am confident in their ability to guide a process that is open, inclusive and transparent leading to an outcome document based on consensus and focused on results, which I hope we can collectively achieve by next July.