|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary—General, in Message to Kigali Forum, Says ‘MDGs Are Achievable’;
Will Continue to Be ‘Close Partner’ for Africa in Anti-Poverty Effort
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Africa Consultative Forum on the Millennium Development Goals, delivered by Jeffrey Sachs, Senior Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, in Kigali, 4 September:
I send warm greetings to all the participants in this Africa Consultative Forum on the Millennium Development Goals.
Ten years ago, Heads of State and Governments undertook a solemn commitment to fight extreme poverty and hunger and achieve substantial progress in development by 2015.
Despite the recent food security crisis and global economic upheaval, the developing world remains on track to halve extreme poverty from its 1990 level by 2015. Encouraging progress has also been made in a significant number of least developed countries. This is no small feat; it shows that the Millennium Development Goals are achievable.
Africa itself has seen remarkable successes in combating hunger, reducing child malnutrition and mortality, improving school enrolment, expanding access to clean water and HIV treatment, and controlling tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.
Rwanda has made impressive efforts in achieving almost universal primary enrolment, including gender parity at the primary level. With close to 60 per cent of children sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net, the country registers the largest increase in use of bed nets in Africa. Rwanda also made history in 2008 when the representation of women in parliament reached the highest level in the world.
Nevertheless, progress has been uneven across the goals, as well as from country to country and within countries. Moreover, Africa remains the continent facing the most severe challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Progress has been especially slow in improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality.
Later this month, world leaders will gather in New York for the Millennium Development Goals Summit. Nearly 150 leaders will attend, making this a unique opportunity. It is my hope that the Summit will provide the strong political impetus needed to address the remaining gaps and accelerate progress. This Forum in Kigali can provide momentum for success at the Summit and beyond.
My recent visits to several African countries showed me what can be achieved when partners take comprehensive and coherent action, and stand together against poverty, hunger and disease. Africa’s people continue to need an enabling environment of aid and trade. Far more than that, they need the tools with which they themselves will create jobs, generate income and unleash the continent’s own potential.
For my part, I will continue to press hard for a successful Summit. We need the strongest possible outcome document — a results-oriented action plan, with concrete steps and timelines, and with mechanisms for holding all partners accountable. The Summit will also showcase success stories, with the hope of scaling them up and creating partnerships that will allow us to do even more in Africa and around the world.
I will continue to be your close partner in this effort, and I look forward to learning of the results of this meeting. Please accept my best wishes for a successful gathering.
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