SPAIN’S ACHIEVEMENT FUND ‘REMARKABLE INITIATIVE’, EXTRAORDINARY COMMITMENT TO ANTI-POVERTY GOALS, SAYS DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL IN NEW YORK REMARKS

4 December 2007
DSG/SM/356-DEV/2651

SPAIN’S ACHIEVEMENT FUND ‘REMARKABLE INITIATIVE’, EXTRAORDINARY COMMITMENT TO ANTI-POVERTY GOALS, SAYS DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL IN NEW YORK REMARKS

4 December 2007
Deputy Secretary-General
DSG/SM/356 DEV/2651
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SPAIN’S ACHIEVEMENT FUND ‘REMARKABLE INITIATIVE’, EXTRAORDINARY COMMITMENT

TO ANTI-POVERTY GOALS, SAYS DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL IN NEW YORK REMARKS

 

Following are the Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s closing remarks at the special event on the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund in New York, 3 December:

It is a pleasure to join you today for this special event on the MDG Achievement Fund.

The Millennium Development Goals provide a unique road map for building a better and fairer world for all of humanity.

For the first time in history, we have at our disposal the means to cut poverty in half in the span of a generation.  But ultimately, achieving the MDGs is a matter of political will.

At the midpoint towards the 2015 deadline, we must not diminish our sense of urgency.  We must mobilize the resources and implement the policies that can give us a chance to reach the MDGs -- in all countries and for all communities.

Ours is a world where 2.5 billion people struggle to survive on less than two dollars per day.  Where 114 million children are missing out on a basic education and 584 million women are illiterate.  Where an estimated 850 million people go to bed hungry each night.

For the United Nations today, supporting the efforts of Member States to combat poverty, inequality and despair -- and to reach all the Millennium Development Goals -- is one of our greatest challenges.

Seven years ago, in the Millennium Declaration, all the world’s Governments promised to spare no effort to make the United Nations a more effective instrument to pursue our shared development objectives.  We are working hard to meet those expectations.

Through a wide range of activities across the globe, the different parts of the United Nations system are supporting developing countries to address the Goals.  Through plans and detailed analyses, we are working with Governments to map out the most effective MDG strategies.  With civil society, we are helping to galvanize popular support for the MDGs and pressing Governments to honour their commitments.

The MDG challenge has also reinforced the conviction of all of us within the United Nations that we can and must do better in supporting our partners’ development efforts; that we can and must be more results-oriented; and that this is absolutely not the time for “business as usual”.

The MDG Achievement Fund, provided through the generosity of the Government and people of Spain, goes to the heart of these critical twin challenges -- of closing the gap in reaching the MDGs, and of ensuring the multilateral system plays an ever more effective role in this historic effort.

The Fund is also a reflection of Spain’s firm commitment to improving the human condition everywhere.  It is a testament to its resolve to play a leading role in our collective endeavour to reach the MDGs, and to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration.  I pay tribute to Spain for this remarkable initiative.  It is a shining example of the kind of innovative partnerships we need.

As we have heard in the presentations and discussion today, the MDG Achievement Fund represents both tremendous opportunities and welcome challenges for the United Nations.

In restricting most of its funding to joint programmes, the Fund provides a strong incentive for the United Nations system to work more coherently and to translate ideas into action.  At the same time, it challenges the international development cooperation system to focus on those complex priorities in which the United Nations is uniquely qualified to assist.  It thus tests our ability to draw on the breadth of specialized knowledge across the whole United Nations family.

This is the moment to truly demonstrate that, working effectively together, we can be much greater than simply the sum of our parts.  This Fund helps us do so.  By working through Resident Coordinators, it provides a unique opportunity for the Coordinators to reinforce their vital role as leaders of United Nations country teams, in support of Government priorities.

Equally, the Fund challenges Coordinators and country teams to resolve ongoing debates about agency roles, responsibilities and strategies, and to focus on quality and merit.  It supports the Resident Coordinator system with real resources for concrete programmes.  This is already injecting fresh energy across a range of country teams.

And it is providing UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], as the fund manager, with a critical opportunity to support the United Nations development family as a whole.

The hardest part is still ahead.  The MDG Achievement Fund will ultimately be judged by its impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people it serves.  I look forward to hearing more about the results of these efforts in the months and years ahead.

And in closing, allow me to reiterate our profound appreciation to the Government of Spain, and especially you, Madame Vice-President -- and through you, the people of Spain -- for this extraordinary commitment to the MDGs, and for this welcome vote of confidence in the United Nations.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.