Deputy Secretary-General: Statements
New York, 6 December 2007 - Deputy Secretary-General's remarks to the General Assembly Dialogue on DevelopmentMr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to join you today for this dialogue on development.
The publication being presented this morning -- the UN Development Agenda --reflects the importance that the entire UN system attaches to building a more equitable, healthier and more secure world for all.
Defined through the historic series of United Nations conferences and summits over the past two decades, the Agenda encompasses an array of internationally agreed development objectives. It is an ambitious framework, touching upon virtually all aspects of our lives. And even though its scope is extensive, the Agenda can be fulfilled if we all work together.
Its most visible expression can be found in the Millennium Development Goals --adopted by all the world's Governments in the year 2000. The MDGs not only reflect our common vision for building a better world in the twenty-first century, they have also done much to raise awareness and mobilize support for our wider set of development objectives. Indeed, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the implementation of the broader Development Agenda are closely interlinked.
This afternoon, the Assembly will hold a formal meeting on development. This will be an important opportunity to take stock of where we are, to discuss how we can advance progress towards the Goals and across the entire development agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Midway to the target date of 2015 to reach the MDGs, the results are mixed. The encouraging news is that, globally, if current trends are sustained, the target on reducing poverty by half will be met for the world as a whole, and for most regions. But progress towards the MDGs has been slow in some of the world's poorest countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite the lag in progress, all the development goals remain achievable in most countries, but only with urgent and concerted action by political leaders. Why are we so confident of this? Because we have already seen countries in Africa and elsewhere demonstrate that rapid and large-scale progress is possible.
We need a strong and sustained effort by developed and developing countries alike to ensure that millions of people can emerge from extreme poverty and hunger. That all have access to decent and productive work. That every girl-child has a seat in the classroom. That mothers grow healthier. That we win the battles against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. And that development becomes more sustainable.
In this common endeavor, the global partnership for development and the principles embodied in the Monterrey Consensus remain central. Developing countries must take full ownership of their development process. They must ensure a favourable environment for long-term and equitable economic growth.
At the same time, developed countries have pledged to increase development assistance flows and debt relief. Current ODA trends call for renewed commitments to meet earlier promises.
Furthermore, developing countries need to have access to open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory trading and financial systems. It is imperative that the Doha trade negotiations conclude early and deliver on the promise to be a true development round. And investment in new and innovative technologies must be promoted to improve human conditions in all countries.
Let us not miss the opportunities presented by the UNCTAD-XII Conference and the Financing for Development Review Conference next year to further advance our trade, finance and development agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Secretary-General and I are fully committed to mobilizing the United Nations system to do everything it can to support efforts that advance the UN Development Agenda. Earlier this year, the Secretary-General launched the Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering and Working Groups. The aim is to mobilize the full resources of the UN system and its partners in support of achieving the Goals in Africa by 2015.
Just last Friday, 30 November 2007, the Working Group met for the second time and reviewed work plans aiming at scaling up efforts to implement the MDGs on Africa. This initiative brings together the EU Commission, the Islamic Development Bank, the UN system, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and African and other multilateral organizations.
More specifically, we have tasked ourselves with three objectives:
? To identify practical steps and mechanisms for coordinated MDG efforts;
? To concretize aid commitments and improve aid predictability; and
? To support MDG operationalization at the country level.
The Working Group will endeavor to highlight key implementation and resource gaps and obstacles. And it will help propose ways to address these problems. With better information, we can take more strategic and effective action. I am convinced that these and other concerted actions, being taken within and outside the UN, will help us reach the MDGs and advance the UN Development Agenda as a whole.
The Secretary-General and I are also committed to strengthening the capacity of the UN system to improve the delivery and coherence of development programmes at the country-level. With careful planning and collaboration among the entities of the UN system, we can make the organization more responsive, more effective, and more results-oriented.
Coherence demands not only that UN agencies work better together, but also that all stakeholders -- Member States, international organizations, civil society and the private sector -- work ever more closely together in pursuit of our shared objectives.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All our good intentions and best efforts will be undermined if we continue on our present trajectory with regard to climate change.
We cannot deny the facts: global warming is a serious threat to development everywhere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has unequivocally affirmed the warming of our climate system and linked it directly to human activity. Its negative impacts threaten to undo much of the progress that has been achieved towards the MDGs.
That is why the discussions now underway in Bali at the UN Climate Change Conference are so crucial. We look to Governments to agree on a roadmap for negotiations that will ensure a new climate change agreement by 2009. Addressing global warming swiftly and effectively is essential to achieve sustained economic development and poverty eradication.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There can be no more important mission for the United Nations than helping developing countries share in the world's prosperity. Let me assure you that the Secretary-General and I are working diligently to fulfil our commitment to further advance the Organization's leadership in promoting development, one of the three pillars of the United Nations, along with peace and security, and human rights. We have said many times: a stronger United Nations needs a stronger development pillar.
But the contribution of the United Nations system, while important, is not enough on its own. We need to galvanize broader global momentum to meet the needs of the world's poorest. And we need a great coalition of conscience, backed by commitment and action, to fulfil our shared vision of development.
I am confident that this Assembly will reaffirm its strong political will to pursue the full scope of the United Nations Development Agenda. I wish you every success in your deliberations today.
Thank you for your kind attention.