|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, Addressing Innovation Forum, Stresses Importance of Ideas,
Inspiration in Meeting Millennium Targets
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the MDG Innovation Forum, in New York on 24 September:
Welcome to the United Nations. Thank you all for coming to this vibrant gathering during our busiest week of the year. I especially thank my MDG [Millennium Development Goal] advocates. They are all champions for the cause of development. They are inspiring leaders who have helped the United Nations to help the peoples of our world. I am delighted to see such a diverse group of innovators here. I thank you all for coming here with so much creativity and goodwill.
For more than a dozen years, we have been translating the MDG targets into tangible results. We cut the global poverty rate by half five years ahead of our deadline. Seven hundred million people now enjoy better lives. We put 90 per cent of children into primary school. More and more women and girls are getting an education. We drastically cut the number of people suffering from hunger.
Thanks to better health care, 17,000 children each day are spared diseases that could have killed them. The number of women dying in childbirth has also been cut by half. That translates into a quarter of a million lives saved each year. We are making progress on AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through prevention and treatment. And we met the target of halving the proportion of people who need access to improved sources of water.
I have seen the results in the lives of individuals. I have seen the relief in the eyes of pregnant women getting medical help to survive labour. I have seen the joy in the eyes of children who proudly carry their books to school. I have seen the satisfaction of workers who can support their families — and the excitement of entrepreneurs who can create even more jobs through their own success.
At the same time, I have seen the continuing problems caused by poverty, illiteracy and disease. I have seen how these conditions exacerbate tensions. That can lead to more conflict, and more suffering. I have pleaded with Governments and others for more resources. But we need more than money – we need ideas, innovation and inspiration.
You come from different fields of expertise – but you share the same understanding that we must help the most vulnerable members of our human family, so that we can build a prosperous and peaceful world for us all. You share the same willingness to do your part. And you share the same conviction that the United Nations can bring partners together to have an impact on our world.
Ladies and gentlemen, when we set the MDGs at the dawn of the Millennium, we pledged to join hands with many partners to realize them. In the decade since, we have seen time and again that partnerships bring results. Now we have to use this successful formula to accomplish even more before our deadline in 2015. This will help prove the value of our global development agenda. And that is critical to shaping a new post-2015 vision for sustainable development.
Let us live up to the Millennium Declaration, which affirmed that we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity. Let us give hope to the more than 1 billion people who still struggle in poverty. And let us help them reach their potential — so that together we can create the future we want.
* *** *