II. Freedom from want
25. The past 25 years have seen the most dramatic reduction in extreme poverty that the world has ever experienced. Spearheaded by progress in China and India, literally hundreds of millions of men, women and children all over the world have been able to escape the burdens of extreme impoverishment and begin to enjoy improved access to food, health care, education and housing.
26. Yet at the same time, dozens of countries have become poorer, devastating economic crises have thrown millions of families into poverty, and increasing inequality in large parts of the world means that the benefits of economic growth have not been evenly shared. Today, more than a billion people — one in every six human beings — still live on less than a dollar a day, lacking the means to stay alive in the face of chronic hunger, disease and environmental hazards. In other words, this is a poverty that kills. A single bite from a malaria-bearing mosquito is enough to end a child's life for want of a bed net or $1 treatment. A drought or pest that destroys a harvest turns subsistence into starvation. A world in which every year 11 million children die before their fifth birthday and three million people die of AIDS is not a world of larger freedom.
27. For centuries, this kind of poverty has been regarded as a sad but inescapable aspect of the human condition. Today, that view is intellectually and morally indefensible. The scale and scope of progress made by countries in every region of the world has shown that, over a very short time, poverty and maternal and infant mortality can be dramatically reduced, while education, gender equality and other aspects of development can be dramatically advanced. The unprecedented combination of resources and technology at our disposal today means that we are truly the first generation with the tools, the knowledge and the resources to meet the commitment, given by all States in the Millennium Declaration, “to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want”.
A. A shared vision of development
28. The multifaceted challenge of development cuts across a vast array of interlinked issues — ranging from gender equality through health and education to the environment. The historic United Nations conferences and summits held in the 1990s helped build a comprehensive normative framework around these linkages for the first time by mapping out a broad vision of shared development priorities. These laid the groundwork for the Millennium Summit to set out a series of time-bound targets across all these areas — ranging from halving extreme poverty to putting all children into primary school, all with a deadline of 2015 — that were later crystallized into the Millennium Development Goals (see box 1).
The Millennium Development Goals
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Achieve universal primary education
Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
Promote gender equality and empower women
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and to all levels of education no later than 2015
Reduce child mortality
Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Improve maternal health
Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources
Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers
Develop a global partnership for development
Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system (includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction — both nationally and internationally)
Address the special needs of the least developed countries (includes tariff- and quota-free access for least developed countries exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction)
Address the special needs of landlocked countries and small island developing States (through the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly)
Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term
In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth
In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries
In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
29. The Millennium Development Goals have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest, becoming globally accepted benchmarks of broader progress embraced by donors, developing countries, civil society and major development institutions alike. As such, they reflect an urgent and globally shared and endorsed set of priorities that we need to address at the September 2005 summit. Thanks to the work done by the Millennium Project, whose report, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, was delivered to me in January 2005, there is now an action plan to achieve them. There are also encouraging signs that the critical ingredient — political will — is emerging. The real test will be whether broad-based actions by developed and developing countries to address this agenda are supported by global development assistance being more than doubled over the next few years, for this is what will be necessary to help achieve the Goals.
30. At the same time, we need to see the Millennium Development Goals as part of an even larger development agenda. While the Goals have been the subject of an enormous amount of follow-up both inside and outside the United Nations, they clearly do not in themselves represent a complete development agenda. They do not directly encompass some of the broader issues covered by the conferences of the 1990s, nor do they address the particular needs of middle-income developing countries or the questions of growing inequality and the wider dimensions of human development and good governance, which all require the effective implementation of conference outcomes.
31. Nevertheless, the urgency of achieving the Millennium Development Goals cannot be overstated. Despite progress in many areas, overall the world is falling short of what is needed, especially in the poorest countries (see box 2). As the Millennium Project's report makes clear, our agenda is still achievable globally and in most or even all countries — but only if we break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate and scale up action until 2015, beginning over the next 12 months. Success will require sustained action across the entire decade between now and the deadline. That is because development successes cannot take place overnight and many countries suffer significant capacity constraints. It takes time to train the teachers, nurses and engineers, to build the roads, schools and hospitals, and to grow the small and large businesses able to create the jobs and income needed.
Progress on the Millennium Development Goals
Progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals has been far from uniform across the world. The greatest improvements have been in East Asia and South Asia, where more than 200 million people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990 alone. Nonetheless, nearly 700 million people in Asia still live on less than $1 a day — nearly two thirds of the world's poorest people — while even some of the fastest-growing countries are falling short on non-income Goals, such as protecting the environment and reducing maternal mortality. Sub-Saharan Africa is at the epicentre of the crisis, falling seriously short on most Goals, with continuing food insecurity, disturbingly high child and maternal mortality, growing numbers of people living in slums and an overall rise of extreme poverty despite some important progress in individual countries. Latin America, the transition economies, and the Middle East and North Africa, often hampered by growing inequality, have more mixed records, with significant variations in progress but general trends falling short of what is needed to meet the 2015 deadline.
Progress in the achievement of the different Goals has also varied. Although sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania are lagging in almost all areas, elsewhere major advances are being made in reducing hunger, improving access to drinking water and expanding the number of children in primary school. Child mortality rates have also generally declined, but progress has slowed in many regions and has even been reversed in parts of Central Asia. Meanwhile, despite dramatic progress in some countries overall access to sanitation is off track, particularly in Africa and Asia, where the number of slum-dwellers is also increasing rapidly. Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high throughout the developing world, as do the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Gender equality remains unfulfilled, the 2005 education parity target was missed in many countries. Environmental degradation is an extreme concern in all developing regions.
32. In 2005, the development of a global partnership between rich and poor countries — which is itself the eighth Goal, reaffirmed and elaborated three years ago at the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa — needs to become a reality. It is worth recalling the terms of that historic compact. Each developing country has primary responsibility for its own development — strengthening governance, combating corruption and putting in place the policies and investments to drive private-sector-led growth and maximize domestic resources available to fund national development strategies. Developed countries, on their side, undertake that developing countries which adopt transparent, credible and properly costed development strategies will receive the full support they need, in the form of increased development assistance, a more development-oriented trade system and wider and deeper debt relief. All of this has been promised but not delivered. That failure is measured in the rolls of the dead — and on it are written millions of new names each year.
B. National strategies
33. Extreme poverty has many causes, ranging from adverse geography through poor or corrupt governance (including neglect of marginalized communities) to the ravages of conflict and its aftermath. Most pernicious are poverty traps that leave many of the poorest countries languishing in a vicious circle of destitution even when they have the benefit of honest, committed Governments. Lacking basic infrastructure, human capital and public administration, and burdened by disease, environmental degradation and limited natural resources, these countries cannot afford the basic investments needed to move onto a new path of prosperity unless they receive sustained, targeted external support.
34. As a first step towards addressing these problems, countries need to adopt bold, goal-oriented policy frameworks for the next 10 years, aimed at scaling up investments to achieve at least the quantitative Millennium Development Goals targets. To that end, each developing country with extreme poverty should by 2006 adopt and begin to implement a national development strategy bold enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals targets for 2015. This strategy should be anchored in the practical scaling up of public investments, capacity-building, domestic resource mobilization and, where needed, official development assistance. This recommendation may not sound revolutionary, but by linking actions directly to the needs derived from ambitious and monitorable targets, its implementation would mark a fundamental breakthrough towards greater boldness and accountability in the fight against poverty.
35. It is important to stress that this does not require the creation of any new instruments. All that is required is a different approach to their design and implementation. Countries that already have poverty reduction strategy papers — nationally owned and developed three-year spending frameworks agreed with the World Bank and other international development partners — should align them with a 10-year framework of policies and investments consistent with achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In middle-income countries and others where the Goals are already within reach, Governments should adopt a “Millennium Development Goals-plus” strategy, with more ambitious targets.
A framework for action
36. However well crafted on paper, investment strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals will not work in practice unless supported by States with transparent, accountable systems of governance, grounded in the rule of law, encompassing civil and political as well as economic and social rights, and underpinned by accountable and efficient public administration. Many of the poorest countries will need major capacity-building investments to put in place and maintain the necessary infrastructure and to train and employ qualified personnel. But without good governance, strong institutions and a clear commitment to rooting out corruption and mismanagement wherever it is found, broader progress will prove elusive.
37. Similarly, without dynamic, growth-oriented economic policies supporting a healthy private sector capable of generating jobs, income and tax revenues over time, sustainable economic growth will not be achieved. This requires significantly increased investments in human capital and development-oriented infrastructure, such as energy, transport and communications. In addition, small and medium-sized firms require a favourable legal and regulatory environment, including effective commercial laws that define and protect contracts and property rights, a rational public administration that limits and combats corruption, and expanded access to financial capital, including microfinance. As two important Commissions — the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization  and the Commission on the Private Sector and Development  — reported to me last year, this is crucial for providing decent jobs that both provide income and empower the poor, especially women and younger people.
38. Civil society organizations have a critical role to play in driving this implementation process forward to “make poverty history”. Not only is civil society an indispensable partner in delivering services to the poor at the scope required by the Millennium Development Goals but it can also catalyse action within countries on pressing development concerns, mobilizing broad-based movements and creating grass-roots pressure to hold leaders accountable for their commitments. Internationally, some civil society organizations can help create or galvanize global partnerships on specific issues or draw attention to the plight of indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups, while others can work to share best practices across countries through community exchanges and providing technical support and advice to Governments.
National investment and policy priorities
39. Each national strategy needs to take into account seven broad “clusters” of public investments and policies which directly address the Millennium Development Goals and set the foundation for private sector-led growth. As elaborated in the Millennium Project, all are essential for meeting the Goals, as well as wider development needs.
Gender equality: overcoming pervasive gender bias
40. Empowered women can be some of the most effective drivers of development. Direct interventions to advance gender equality include increasing primary school completion and secondary school access for girls, ensuring secure tenure of property to women, ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services, promoting equal access to labour markets, providing the opportunity for greater representation in government decision-making bodies and protecting women from violence.
The environment: investing in better resource management
41. Countries should adopt time-bound environmental targets, particularly for such priorities as forest replanting, integrated water resources management, ecosystem preservation and curbing pollution. To achieve targets, increased investments in environmental management need to be accompanied by broad policy reforms. Progress also depends on sector strategies, including strategies for agriculture, infrastructure, forestry, fisheries, energy and transport, which all require environmental safeguards. Further, improving access to modern energy services is critical for both reducing poverty and protecting the environment. There is also a need to ensure that enhancing access to safe drinking water and sanitation forms a part of development strategies.
Rural development: increasing food output and incomes
42. Smallholder farmers and others living in impoverished rural areas require soil nutrients, better plant varieties, improved water management and training in modern and environmentally sustainable farming practices, along with access to transport, water, sanitation and modern energy services. In sub-Saharan Africa, these elements must be brought together to launch a twenty-first century African green revolution commencing in 2005.
Urban development: promoting jobs, upgrading slums and developing alternatives to new slum formation
43. For the large and growing number of urban poor, core infrastructure services, such as energy, transport, pollution control and waste disposal, are needed alongside improved security of tenure and community-led efforts to build decent housing and support urban planning. To this end, local authorities need to be strengthened and work closely with organizations of the urban poor.
Health systems: ensuring universal access to essential services
44. Strong health systems are required to ensure universal access to basic health services, including services to promote child and maternal health, to support reproductive health and to control killer diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (see box 3). This requires sufficient investments, large numbers of motivated and adequately paid health workers, scaled-up infrastructure and supplies, strong management systems and the elimination of user fees.
Education: ensuring universal primary, expanded secondary and higher education
45. To advance education at all levels, parents and communities should be able to hold their schools accountable while Governments improve curricula, educational quality and mode of delivery; build human resource and infrastructure capacity, where needed; and institute incentives for bringing vulnerable children to school, including the elimination of user fees.
Science, technology, and innovation: building national capacities
46. To increase countries' indigenous capacity for science and technology, including information and communications technology, Governments should establish scientific advisory bodies, promote infrastructure as an opportunity for technological learning, expand science and engineering faculties, and stress development and business applications in science and technology curricula.
The Tragedy of HIV/AIDS
The HIV/AIDS pandemic now kills more than 3 million people each year and poses an unprecedented threat to human development and security. The disease is wrecking millions of families and leaving tens of millions of orphans. More than just a public health crisis, AIDS undermines economic and social stability, ravaging health, education, agriculture and social welfare systems. While placing an enormous drag on economic growth, it also weakens governance and security structures, posing a further threat.
The epidemic demands an exceptional response. In the absence of a cure, only the mass mobilization of every section of society — unheard of to date in the history of public health — can begin to reverse AIDS. This requires comprehensive prevention, education, treatment and impact mitigation programmes, which in turn will not succeed without the personal commitment of Heads of State and Government to support and lead genuinely multisectoral AIDS responses.
Since 2000, the world has begun to achieve some successes in the fight against AIDS. More Governments have made it a strategic priority and set up integrated administrative structures to lead and coordinate the struggle. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which I called for in 2001, now plays a leading role in the global effort, while also focusing attention on and fighting other killer pandemics. Altogether, as of December 2004, 700,000 people in the developing world were receiving antiretroviral treatment — a nearly 60 per cent increase in just five months. This reflects the priority that the international community has now placed on rapidly expanding treatment, and shows that a real difference can be made in a very short time.
However, much remains to be done if we are to have any realistic hope of reducing the incidence of HIV and providing proper antiretroviral treatment to all who need it within the coming decade. Many Governments have yet to tackle the disease and its stigma publicly, or are not sufficiently committed to the kind of frank discussion and action on gender equality that is needed. In particular, resources for AIDS remain far short of what is needed to mount a full inclusive response. National Governments, as well as multilateral and bilateral donors, must now take steps to meet these costs.
Four years ago, I called on the international community to provide $7 billion to $10 billion annually to address the projected needs to fight HIV/AIDS in the developing world. This amount has not been fully funded. In the meantime, the disease has spread. As a result, we have an ever increasing gap between what is needed and what is provided. This cannot continue. We need a more ambitious and balanced strategy of both prevention and treatment. Therefore, I call on the international community to provide urgently the resources needed for an expanded and comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS, as identified by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and its partners, and to provide full funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
C. Making goal 8 work: trade and financing for development
47. For many middle-income countries and some poorer ones, most of the resources needed to fund these strategies can and should be mobilized domestically from reallocated government revenues, household contributions and private-sector investment, supplemented by borrowing. But in most low-income countries and in nearly all the least developed countries, the maximum that can be raised by such efforts will fall far short of what is needed to reach the Millennium Development Goals. According to the Millennium Project, the investment costs for the Goals alone in a typical low-income country will be roughly $75 per capita in 2006, rising to approximately $140 in 2015 (in constant dollar terms). These small sums, equivalent to one third to one half of their annual per capita incomes, are far beyond the resources of most low-income countries. To create the conditions for greater private investment and an “exit strategy” from aid in the longer term for these countries, a big push in development assistance is needed.
48. One of the most encouraging shifts in recent years has been the increase in official development assistance (ODA), after a decade of steady decline in the 1990s. Expressed as a percentage of developed countries' gross national income, global ODA currently stands at 0.25 per cent — still well short of the 0.33 per cent reached in the late 1980s, let alone the long-standing target of 0.7 per cent that was reaffirmed in the Monterrey Consensus in 2002 . On the basis of recent commitments to future increases by several donors, annual ODA flows should increase to about $100 billion by 2010 — nearly double their levels at the time of the Monterrey Conference. But a significant portion of this amount reflects debt write-offs and dollar depreciation rather than net long-term finance, and in any case the total would still be about $50 billion short of the ODA levels that the Millennium Project calculates will be needed just to meet the Millennium Development Goals, let alone broader development priorities.
49. Happily, there are signs of further progress. A new group of donors has emerged, including new members of the European Union (EU) and some of the wealthier developing countries, such as Brazil, China and India, all of which are increasingly offering their expertise to other developing countries through technical cooperation. Five donor countries have already reached the 0.7 per cent target and six more have recently set timetables to achieve it. Developed countries that have not already done so should establish timetables to achieve the 0.7 per cent target of gross national income for official development assistance by no later than 2015, starting with significant increases no later than 2006 and reaching 0.5 per cent by 2009.
50. While there are clearly capacity constraints in many developing countries, we must ensure that those countries that are ready receive an immediate scale up in assistance. Starting in 2005, developing countries that put forward sound, transparent and accountable national strategies and require increased development assistance should receive a sufficient increase in aid, of sufficient quality and arriving with sufficient speed to enable them to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
51. The most direct way to increase ODA volumes is to allocate increasing shares of donor countries' national budgets to aid. However, because the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals requires a sharp upward turn in overall ODA spending over the next few years, new ways to finance a steep increase in the short and medium terms are well worth exploring. Several longer-term ideas for innovative sources of finance to complement ODA have been proposed, and an important initiative led by Brazil, Chile, France, Germany and Spain is currently exploring some of them. But what is needed now is a mechanism to ensure the immediate scale-up of financing. The proposed International Finance Facility has the potential to do this by “front-loading” future flows of ODA while still using existing disbursement channels. The international community should in 2005 launch an International Finance Facility to support an immediate front-loading of ODA, underpinned by scaled-up commitments to achieving the 0.7 per cent ODA target no later than 2015. In the longer term, other innovative sources of finance for development should also be considered to supplement the Facility.
52. These steps can and should be supplemented by immediate action to support a series of “quick wins” — relatively inexpensive, high-impact initiatives with the potential to generate major short-term gains and save millions of lives. These range from the free mass distribution of malaria bed nets and effective antimalaria medicines to the expansion of home-grown school meal programmes using locally produced food and the elimination of user fees for primary education and health services. Such rapid steps would provide a critical support for national Millennium Development Goals strategies. They would generate rapid momentum and early success stories that would broaden commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, although they would not be a substitute for longer-term, sustained investments.
53. At the same time, urgent steps are needed to increase the quality, transparency and accountability of ODA. Aid should be linked to the local needs identified in countries' national strategies and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, not to the interests of suppliers in donor countries. This is obviously for the benefit of developing countries, but developed countries themselves also have an interest in being able to show their taxpayers that aid is effective. In follow-up to the March 2005 Paris High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, donor countries should set, by September 2005, timetables and monitorable targets for aligning their aid delivery mechanisms with partner countries' Millennium Development Goals-based national strategies. This includes commitments to Millennium Development Goals-based investment plans, a 2015 time horizon, predictable multi-year funding, dramatically simplified procedures and direct budget support for countries with appropriate mechanisms in place.
54. Closely related to ODA is the issue of external debt. Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), $54 billion has so far been committed for debt relief to 27 countries that have reached decision or completion points. But even though the evidence is persuasive that this unlocks resources which are critical for the Millennium Development Goals, it still falls far short of what is needed. To move forward, we should redefine debt sustainability as the level of debt that allows a country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and reach 2015 without an increase in debt ratios. For most HIPC countries, this will require exclusively grant-based finance and 100 per cent debt cancellation, while for many heavily indebted non-HIPC and middle-income countries, it will require significantly more debt reduction than has yet been on offer. Additional debt cancellation should be achieved without reducing the resources available to other developing countries, and without jeopardizing the long-term financial viability of international financial institutions.
55. While trade does not obviate the need for large scale ODA-supported development investments, an open and equitable trading system can be a powerful driver of economic growth and poverty reduction, especially when combined with adequate aid. Development therefore rightly lies at the heart of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations. At present, developing countries are often denied a level playing field to compete in global trade because rich countries use a variety of tariffs, quotas and subsidies to restrict access to their own markets and shelter their own producers. The December 2005 WTO ministerial meeting offers a chance, which must not be missed, to map out agreement on how to correct these anomalies. An urgent priority is to establish a timetable for developed countries to dismantle market access barriers and begin phasing out trade-distorting domestic subsidies, especially in agriculture. To address this priority, the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations should fulfil its development promise and be completed no later than 2006. As a first step, Member States should provide duty-free and quota-free market access for all exports from the least developed countries.
56. The Monterrey Consensus stressed that for many developing countries, particularly the poorest, which rely on a few commodity products, there is also a supply-side problem which manifests itself in a lack of capacity to diversify exports, a vulnerability to price fluctuations and a steady decline in terms of trade. To build trade competitiveness, national Millennium Development Goals strategies need to emphasize investments in agricultural productivity, trade-related infrastructure and competitive export industries, particularly for the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. While a number of initiatives exist to address these problems, encourage diversification and reduce vulnerability to commodity price fluctuations, support for them has fallen far short of what is necessary.
D. Ensuring environmental sustainability
57. We fundamentally depend on natural systems and resources for our existence and development. Our efforts to defeat poverty and pursue sustainable development will be in vain if environmental degradation and natural resource depletion continue unabated. At the country level, national strategies must include investments in improved environmental management and make the structural changes required for environmental sustainability. For many environmental priorities, such as shared waterways, forests, marine fisheries and biodiversity, regional and global efforts must be strengthened. We already have one encouraging example showing how global solutions can be found. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer , the risk of harmful radiation appears to be receding — a clear demonstration of how global environmental problems can be managed when all countries make determined efforts to implement internationally agreed frameworks. Today, three major challenges for the international community require particularly urgent action, as described below.
58. The degradation of more than a billion hectares of land has had a devastating impact on development in many parts of the world. Millions of people have been forced to abandon their lands as farming and nomadic lifestyles have become unsustainable. Hundreds of millions more are at risk of becoming environmental refugees. To combat desertification, the international community must support and implement the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa .
59. Another serious concern is loss of biodiversity, which is occurring at an unprecedented rate within and across countries. Worrying in its own right, this trend also severely undermines health, livelihoods, food production and clean water, and increases the vulnerability of populations to natural disasters and climate change. To reverse these trends, all Governments should take steps, individually and collectively, to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Johannesburg commitment to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010.
60. One of the greatest environmental and development challenges in the twenty-first century will be that of controlling and coping with climate change. The overwhelming majority of scientists now agree that human activity is having a significant impact on the climate. Since the advent of the industrial era in the mid-eighteenth century, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased significantly, the earth has warmed considerably and sea levels have risen measurably. The 1990s were the warmest decade on record, forcing glaciers and Arctic ice to retreat. With the concentration of greenhouse gases projected to rise still further over the next century, a corresponding increase in the global mean surface temperature is likely to trigger increased climate variability and greater incidence and intensity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts. The countries most vulnerable to such changes — small island developing States, coastal nations with large numbers of people living in low-lying areas, and countries in the arid and semi-arid tropics and subtropics — are least able to protect themselves. They also contribute least to the global emissions of greenhouse gases. Without action, they will pay a bitter price for the actions of others.
61. The entry into force in February 2005 of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an important step towards dealing with global warming, but it only extends until 2012. The international community must agree on stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations beyond that date. Scientific advances and technological innovation have an important role to play in mitigating climate change and in facilitating adaptation to the new conditions. They must be mobilized now if we are to develop the tools needed in time. In particular, research and development funding for renewable energy sources, carbon management and energy efficiency needs to increase substantially. Policy mechanisms, such as carbon trading markets, should also be expanded. As agreed at Johannesburg, the primary responsibility for mitigating climate change and other unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must lie with the countries that contribute most to the problems. We must develop a more inclusive international framework beyond 2012, with broader participation by all major emitters and both developed and developing countries, to ensure a concerted globally defined action, including through technological innovation, to mitigate climate change, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
E. Other priorities for global action
62. To address broader development needs, action is also needed in a number of other areas, as set out below.
Infectious disease surveillance and monitoring
63. The overall international response to evolving pandemics has been shockingly slow and remains shamefully underresourced. Malaria continues to rage throughout the tropical world, despite the availability of highly effective measures for prevention and treatment. Many infectious diseases that ravage developing countries today, notably HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, pose severe risks for the entire world, particularly in the light of emerging drug resistance. Both familiar and new infectious diseases require a concerted international response. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 drew attention to the fact that even long-distance flight times are shorter than the incubation periods for many infectious diseases, so that any one of the 700 million passengers who take international flights each year can be an unwitting disease carrier.
64. The rapid response to SARS also showed that the spread of infectious disease can be contained when effective global institutions, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), work in close partnership with functioning national health agencies and expert technical institutions. No State could have achieved this degree of containment on its own. To strengthen existing mechanisms for timely and effective international cooperation, I call on Member States to agree on the revision of the International Health Regulations at the World Health Assembly to be held in May 2005. To contain the risk of future outbreaks, greater resources should also be given to the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network so that it can coordinate the response of a broad international partnership in support of national health surveillance and response systems.
65. The devastating impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami has reminded us all of the vulnerability of human life to natural disasters, and also of the disproportionate effect they have on poor people. Unless more determined efforts are made to address the loss of lives, livelihoods and infrastructure, disasters will become an increasingly serious obstacle to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in early 2005, adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, which identifies strategic objectives and priority areas to reduce disaster risk in the next 10 years. We must proceed with its implementation.
66. The countries of the Indian Ocean region, with the help of the United Nations and others, are now taking steps to establish a regional tsunami early warning system. Let us not forget, however, the other hazards that people in all regions of the world are exposed to, including storms, floods, droughts, landslides, heat waves and volcanic eruptions. To complement broader disaster preparedness and mitigation initiatives, I recommend the establishment of a worldwide early warning system for all natural hazards, building on existing national and regional capacity. To assist in its establishment, I shall be requesting the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction secretariat to coordinate a survey of existing capacities and gaps, in cooperation with all United Nations system entities concerned, and I look forward to receiving its findings and recommendations. When disasters strike, we also need improved rapid response arrangements for immediate humanitarian relief, which are considered in section V below.
Science and technology for development
67. To help drive economic development and to enable developing countries to forge solutions to their own problems, a significantly increased global effort is required to support research and development to address the special needs of the poor in the areas of health, agriculture, natural resource and environmental management, energy and climate. Two particular priorities should be to mount a major global initiative on research in tropical diseases and to provide additional support to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for research on tropical agriculture.
68. Information and communication technologies can significantly contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. To fully utilize the potential of information and communication technology (ICT), we need to address the digital divide, including through voluntary financing mechanisms, such as the recently launched Digital Solidarity Fund.
Regional infrastructure and institutions
69. Regional infrastructure and policy cooperation are essential for supporting economic development. This is particularly so when developing countries are landlocked or small islands, both of which need special support. But other countries that may simply have small populations or are dependent on their neighbours for transport, food, water or energy, also need assistance. International donors should support regional cooperation to deal with these problems, and developing countries should make such cooperation an integral part of their national strategies. This should cover not only economic cooperation but also mechanisms for regional political dialogue and consensus-building, such as the African Peer Review Mechanism and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
70. The international financial institutions are essential to ensuring development around the world and successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. I encourage them to ensure that the country programmes they support are ambitious enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In addition, these institutions and their shareholders should consider what changes they might undergo in order to better reflect the changes in the world's political economy since 1945. This should be done in the context of the Monterrey Consensus agreement to broaden and strengthen the participation of developing and transition countries in international economic decision-making and norm-setting. The Bretton Woods institutions have already taken some steps to strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries. But more significant steps are needed to overcome the widespread perception among developing countries that they are underrepresented in both bodies, which in turn tends to put their legitimacy in doubt.
71. Today, more people live outside their countries of origin than at any time in history and their numbers are expected to increase in the future. Migration offers many opportunities — to the migrants themselves, to the countries that receive younger workforce and also — notably in the form of remittance payments, which have grown spectacularly in recent years — to their countries of origin. But it also involves many complex challenges. It can contribute simultaneously to unemployment in one region or sector and to labour shortages and “brain drains” in another. If not carefully managed, it can also provoke acute social and political tensions. The impact of these trends is not yet well understood, but I believe that the report of the Global Commission on International Migration, which I shall receive later in 2005, will provide some valuable guidance. The high-level dialogue on the subject to be held by the General Assembly in 2006 will provide an important opportunity to tackle the hard questions on this issue.
F. The implementation challenge
72. The urgent task in 2005 is to implement in full the commitments already made and to render genuinely operational the framework already in place. The principles of mutual responsibility and mutual accountability that underpinned the Monterrey Consensus are sound and need to be translated into deeds. The September summit must produce a pact for action, to which all nations subscribe and on which all can be judged. The Millennium Development Goals must no longer be floating targets, referred to now and then to measure progress. They must inform, on a daily basis, national strategies and international assistance alike. Without a bold breakthrough in 2005 that lays the groundwork for a rapid progress in coming years, we will miss the targets. Let us be clear about the costs of missing this opportunity: millions of lives that could have been saved will be lost; many freedoms that could have been secured will be denied; and we shall inhabit are more dangerous and unstable world.
73. By the same token, development would be at best hindered and at worst reversed in a world riven by violent conflict or mesmerized by the fear of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, or one in which human rights were trampled, the rule of law was disregarded and citizens' views and needs were ignored by unresponsive and unrepresentative Governments. Progress on the issues covered in sections III and IV below, therefore, is essential to realizing the objectives set out above, just as development is itself an indispensable underpinning for longer-term security, human rights and the rule of law.
The special needs of Africa
The problems discussed in the present report are global in nature, and solutions must be global. Yet almost all of them affect Africa disproportionately. If we are to achieve truly global solutions, we must recognize Africa's special needs, as world leaders did in the Millennium Declaration. From action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals to better collective capacity to build peace and strengthen States, the special needs of Africa lie at the heart of every part of the present report.
There have been some positive developments in Africa in the past five years. Today, more African States have democratically elected Governments than ever before and the number of military coups on the continent has declined significantly. Some long-standing conflicts, such as those in Angola and Sierra Leone, have been resolved. From Uganda to Mozambique, many individual countries are experiencing rapid and sustained economic and social recovery. And throughout the continent, ordinary people are organizing themselves and making their voices heard.
And yet much of Africa — especially South of the Sahara — continues to suffer the tragic effects of persistent violent conflict, extreme poverty and disease. Some 2.8 million refugees — and fully half of the world's 24.6 million internally displaced people — are victims of conflict and upheaval in Africa. Africa continues to lag behind the rest of the developing world in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. About three quarters of the world's AIDS deaths every year occur in Africa, with women the most affected. The high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in many African countries is both a human tragedy and a major obstacle to development. Of the one million or more people in the world killed by malaria each year, roughly 90 per cent are killed in sub-Saharan Africa, most of them children less than five years old. Much of sub-Saharan Africa continues to face a combination of high transport costs and small markets, low agricultural productivity, a very high disease burden and slow diffusion of technology from abroad. All these make it particularly prone to persistent poverty.
Today, African States are addressing these problems with new energy and determination. They are adopting more robust development strategies to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Africa is building a new architecture of institutions, including the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development, through which to prevent, manage and resolve violent conflict, promote good governance and democracy, and create the right conditions for its economies to grow and thrive in a sustainable way.
As the Commission on Africa set up by the United Kingdom reported in March 2005, Africa's leaders and people will need special support from the rest of the world to succeed in these pioneering efforts. The international community must respond to this need. It must give tangible and sustained support to African countries and regional and subregional organizations, in a spirit of partnership and solidarity. This means ensuring follow-through on existing and needed commitments on debt relief, opening markets and providing greatly increased official development assistance. It also means contributing troops for peacekeeping operations and strengthening the capacity of African States to provide security for their citizens and to meet their needs.
2. Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (United Nations publication, Sales No. 05.III.B.4); see also http://www.unmillenniumproject.org. [Back to text]
3. A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All (Geneva, International Labour Organization, 2004). [Back to text]
4. Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor (United Nations publication, Sales No. 04.III.B.4). [Back to text]
5. See Report of the International Conference on Financing for Development, Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March 2002 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.02.II.A.7), chap. I, resolution 1, annex. [Back to text]
6. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1522, No. 26369. [Back to text]
7. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1954, No. 33480. [Back to text]
8. See United Nations Environment Programme, Convention on Biological Diversity (Environmental Law and Institution Programme Activity Centre), June 1992. [Back to text]
9. See Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August-4 September 2002 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.03.II.A.1), chap. I, resolution 2, annex, para. 44. [Back to text]
10. FCCC/CP/1997/7/Add.1, decision 1/CP.3, annex. [Back to text]
11. A/AC.237/18 (Part II)/Add.1 and Corr.1, annex I. [Back to text]