PRESS CONFERENCE ON 2008 MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

25 September 2008

PRESS CONFERENCE ON 2008 MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

25 September 2008
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

PRESS CONFERENCE ON 2008 MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Winston Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and current Chair of the Group of 77 developing countries, was honoured today with the 2008 Millennium Development Goals Achievement Award for his commitment and contributions to promoting and strengthening partnerships between the United Nations and the private sector in achieving the global anti-poverty goals.

In a ceremony at a Headquarters press conference, Mr. Spencer said he accepted the Award “on behalf of all the people of the South” and he was proud to join the distinguished earlier recipients -- the two previous General Assembly Presidents, Sheikha Haya Rasheed al-Khalifah and Srgjan Kerim -- as they had given deep meaning to the idea of promoting global, anti-poverty targets.

He added that the Millennium Development Goals represented a true compact between all nations and other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.  They were “our hope” to spur development by improving the social and economic conditions of more than 1 billion people in the developing world and it was meaningful to him that the contributions he had tried to make over the course of his career had been seen as valuable.   He added: “I feel very encouraged and earnestly intend to continue my contributions to the great cause of development.”

As he presented the Award, current General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua told Mr. Spencer: “You deserve this and so much more.”  He added that it was important to “recognize the work of those who strive to achieve brotherhood and sisterhood on our planet -- we need more of that.”

Also speaking at the press conference, Aldo Mantovani, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, called Mr. Spencer’s leadership “an example to follow” in the way he had created new approaches to development. He was honoured to commend Mr. Spencer’s work in stimulating and inspiring a stronger partnership between the United Nations and the private sector, as the time had come for new approaches to development.  It was not just a question of allocating increased public resources -- which were needed, he said.  Instead, public, local and private institutions of the most prosperous countries must be mobilized to build and consolidate institutions of the less fortunate countries.

That was why the leadership of Prime Minister Spencer was an example to be followed, he added.  Just yesterday, for example, Italy’s Foreign Minister and the Mayor of Milan had organized an event devoted to the role of local authorities in promoting development and seeking new partnerships between Administrations in North and South, and between public and private sectors, to find innovative solutions to the everyday problems of citizens.

Thus, he was confident that giving the prize to Mr. Spencer would mark an important step towards exploring new solutions that could contribute to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, he said.

Upon offering congratulations to the Award recipient on “all his great efforts,” Francis Lorenzo, of the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, also offered a copy of his country’s recent Needs Assessment Report, which provides an analysis of the Dominican Republic’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals thus far and urged more “South-South cooperation”.

The artist, William Ho, was also on hand and recognized for his creation of the spiral-shaped Millennium Development Goals Award sculpture presented to Mr. Spencer.

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