|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Deputy Secretary-General, at Meeting on Least Developed Countries,
Emphasizes Commitment to Traditional Development Aid
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Ministerial Meeting on Least Developed Countries, in New York, 27 September:
Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this dynamic meeting. I hear you have had very productive discussions at this meeting.
It has been an extremely busy week at the United Nations. The concerns of the world’s least developed countries and their citizens have been high on our agenda.
We have discussed climate change, the global economy, human rights, security issues and so much more in this packed high-level season. And we have viewed all of these issues through the lens of how they affect the poorest and most vulnerable States and people.
We have to confront the harsh realities of poverty, hunger and structural weaknesses. But at the same time we are seeing possibilities.
Just at today’s meeting, in this room, we have heard encouraging reports about projects that work. Now imagine how much is going on beyond these walls: the young entrepreneurs, the many women who are agents of change, and the spirit of resilience transforming into results.
There will be dangerous external economic shocks and natural disasters in the future. But we are meeting in a new era of development, when the LDCs [Least Developed Countries] have a chance to reverse their economic marginalization. Their recent economic growth shows that with the right support and external cooperation they can achieve sustainable development.
Right now we have to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Nearly half of the population in LDCs lives in extreme poverty. That is why we so urgently need to unleash their potential to help their communities and countries.
All of us have to foster an environment that nurtures equality and opportunity. There can be no true development where there is insecurity, oppression and abuse of power. But where there is rule of law, strong democratic institutions and human rights, economies and individuals will flourish.
We need fair international markets. We need to hear the voices of people in the LDCs who deserve the same opportunities as people everywhere.
In my native country, Sweden, it is virtually unheard of that a woman would die in childbirth. I want that same protection to hold true in South Sudan, where tragically one in seven women dies in childbirth.
The Secretary-General is leading efforts to close this gap and provide all women and children with the health care they need. On energy, education and the environment, we are working hard to end global inequalities and enable the LDCs and their citizens to usher in a sustainable future.
We are now holding global consultations on the post-2015 development agenda. There is a great convergence between the development priorities included in the Istanbul Programme of Action on the LDCs and the vision for the Post-2015 development agenda as proposed by the Secretary-General in his report “A Life of Dignity for All”.
I count on all of you to engage in the process so that we can adopt a universal development agenda. As the Secretary-General has said, it should be bold in ambition yet simple and clear in design.
This agenda will succeed if it is supported by a new global partnership for development based on equity, cooperation and accountability with firm roots in human rights and the rule of law.
This demands solidarity and mutual accountability. And it demands passion and compassion. The new partnership should be based on a common understanding of our shared humanity. In our globalized world, progress in one country benefits all, so it is in everyone’s interest to take a multilateral approach to our shared concerns.
As we open our doors to new partners, we must continue to honour commitments for traditional development aid. ODA [official development assistance] is essential to realizing the Istanbul Programme of Action’s vision for half of all LDCs to graduate by 2020. And we should continue encouraging foreign direct investment, trade and South-South cooperation to complement ODA.
The challenge before us is daunting, but it is also inspiring. As we have seen today, LDCs have enormous potential to advance their own development and contribute to progress around the world.
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