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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Deputy Secretary-General: Statements

New York, 6 October 2011 - Deputy Secretary-General's closing remarks at Launch of 2011 Report on Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to launch the 2011 Africa MDG Report. I am grateful to see so many African ambassadors who can help communicate this Report's key messages to your governments.

I thank all the partners who made this report possible: the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and UNDP. Your collaboration is an example of the kind of concerted action we need to succeed.

This Report shows that Africa is on the right track – but it is not moving forward quickly enough.

Progress is very unequal. Some regions are doing better than others. Within regions, some countries are doing better. And within countries, some groups are ahead of others.

This Report gives us a rich trove of information about what works and what does not.

Our challenge is to translate this knowledge into policies that make a difference in people's lives. We have to focus on children, youth, women and other vulnerable groups. Governments have to back their pledges with resources. And they have to allocate funding to social services while acting on their commitment to good governance.

Donors should complement these national efforts. I call on international partners, including traditional and emerging players, to scale up their support.

This Report also confirms the findings of the MDG Africa Steering Group, which identified five areas that can have a real impact.

They are: agriculture and food security; health; education, infrastructure and trade facilitation; and national statistical systems.

I am pleased to chair the Steering Group's Working Group, and together we have come up with a framework to fast-track Africa's progress.

It involves supporting national MDG Action Plans, especially the UNDP MDG Acceleration Framework.

It calls for mobilizing concessional and innovative financing for Africa.

And it demands that we coordinate all efforts to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Steering Group recommendations, so that we can determine how to break through on the hard-to-reach MDGs.

This push comes at a crucial moment. The global economic crisis, climate change and natural disasters are threatening hard-won development gains.

Sustainable development is no longer an option – it is the only way to confront and overcome these interlinked problems.

That is why the Rio+20 conference will be so important.

When we gather next year in Brazil, we will have an opportunity to re-think our approach to energy, food and water security, economic growth and other critical issues – and to connect the dots among them. Africa has a tremendous amount to gain from success in Rio. I urge you to engage decisively in the preparatory process.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Last month, I met with a dynamic group of MDG advocates. They come from different countries and continents, but they share an abiding belief in the power of these Goals to inspire action and save lives.

Today I say to you: we are all MDG advocates.

Each of you can trigger action that will set great progress in motion.

This Report is our playbook. Let us use its findings to score a resounding victory for the people of Africa.

Thank you.