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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

THURSDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AT THE LAUNCH OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS GAP TASK FORCE REPORT

  • Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,
  • It is a great pleasure to see you again.  I am pleased to be here with our senior advisors from DESA (Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and UNDP (UN Development Programme) who will be able to answer some of your questions.
  • I am pleased to present this year’s MDG Gap Task Force Report.
  • I established this Task Force in 2007 to track progress on the international community’s delivery of commitments to strengthen the Global Partnership for Development – as defined by Millennium Development Goal 8.
  • In July, I reported a number of MDG successes.
  • Today I am pleased to report progress on MDG 8, the global partnership for development.
  • As the reports shows, tariffs on exports from developing countries are down.  Exports from developing to developed countries are up.  A larger proportion of exports from least developed countries are being admitted tax free. Access to mobile phone technology and the internet continue to rapidly expand.
  • Some medicines such as those to treat HIV/AIDS are becoming more affordable.
  • And the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ Initiative is near completion.
  • However, much more needs to be done.
  • While global economic trends are slowly improving, the crisis continues to take a toll.  For the first time in a long while, Official Development Assistance has fallen for two consecutive years.
  • The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations remains at an impasse.
  • Many more developing countries are in need of debt restructuring.
  • Essential medicines often remain unaffordable and hard to find.
  • Access to new technologies remains limited in developing countries.
  • Despite these challenges, there is much to build upon.
  • Donor countries continue to strive for - and some even surpass - the ODA target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. New countries and other partners are stepping up.  But all must deliver on commitments – on official development assistance, climate finance and domestic resource mobilization.
  • The international financial institutions are reflecting on more timely and efficient debt restructuring mechanisms.
  • With the help of pharmaceutical companies, there is more local production of generic medicines.
  • The Broadband Commission has helped countries establish policies to expand internet coverage.
  • And I hope that the upcoming World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference in Bali can make progress in breaking the logjam and reaping the development benefits of trade. 
  • As we approach the 2015 MDG target date, we must accelerate efforts while we begin crafting the post-2015 development agenda.
  • These objectives will be front and centre next week. 
  • We will showcase MDG successes throughout the week and at a special partnership event on Monday. 
  • I will also use next Wednesday’s General Assembly special event to officially launch my report, “A Life of Dignity for All”.  It calls for a single, coherent and ambitious post-2015 agenda with sustainable development at its core and poverty eradication as its highest priority.
  • Greater progress towards the MDGs will fuel confidence and mobilize support for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.  And our post-2015 efforts should build on the work begun and the lessons learned through the MDGs.
  • For all our work, we will need one thing above all:  a renewed and stronger global partnership – and we are here today to help advance that effort for one and all.
  • I thank you and I would like to briefly add one more thing on political matters.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, I just wanted to say that I had a very good meeting this morning with the new Foreign Minister of Iran, Javad Zarif.
  • We discussed a wide range of topics. My Spokesperson will have shortly a full readout.
  • I told Minister Zarif that I commend the efforts of the new Government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community.  
  • I also praised the Government's actions in releasing 12 political prisoners yesterday, including the human rights lawyer, Ms. Nasreen Sotoudeh, as well as a number of women’s rights activists, political activists and journalists.
  • As you may remember, when I visited Iran last year, in August last year, I raised this issue and discussed with them and urged them to release all these people. I am glad that they have finally taken action.
  • I told the Minister that I am pleased that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is now taking some concrete steps to fulfil the promises made by President Rouhani during his recent election campaign.
  • I am going to meet President Rouhani next week and we are also going to discuss matters of mutual concern very closely.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR SRI LANKA

  • The Secretary-General welcomes the forthcoming provincial elections scheduled for 21 September in Sri Lanka, particularly in the Northern Province, where these are the first elections since the creation of Provincial Councils in 1987.
  • The Secretary-General views these elections as an important opportunity to foster political reconciliation and to build confidence between Sri Lankans after many years of conflict. He calls on all parties to participate peacefully in the elections and to work together in the period following the elections to address the national and post-war agenda constructively and collaboratively.

U.N. REPRESENTATIVE FOR KOSOVO CONDEMNS DEADLY ATTACK

  • The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo, Farid Zarif, has condemned in the strongest possible terms a fatal attack on a policeman with the European Union law-enforcing mission (EULEX).
  • Zarif said that this “abhorrent act of violence is a direct assault on the principles of peace, justice and civility that international missions are in Kosovo to serve”.
  • He also called for broadest cooperation with authorities to bring perpetrators to justice.

U.N. ENVOY REPORTS PROGRESS IN POLITICAL AND SECURITY TRANSITIONS IN AFGHANISTAN

  • Jan Kubis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, briefed the Security Council on Thursday morning on the progress in Afghanistan's political and security transitions. He said that considerable challenges remain and the situation is volatile, but efforts are on track.
  • Mr. Kubis said that security incidents have increased on 2012 - but not to the record levels of 2011. A campaign of bloodshed by anti-Government elements has targeted mostly Afghans, including in previously calmer districts. They have, however, failed to achieve a significant military victory.
  • He added that the last three months have seen significant progress in technical preparations for the 2014 elections.

UNITED NATIONS HUMANITARIAN OFFICE READY TO ASSIST MEXICO IF NEEDED AFTER RECENT STORMS

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has received information from the Mexican authorities that at least 80 people have died and an estimated 60 people are still missing following landslides caused by Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel. Hundreds of thousands of people are reportedly affected.
  • OCHA and the UN Country Team in Mexico are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist, on request.