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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 18 April 2005 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Panel of Finannce and Development Cooperation Ministers and Experts

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to have the opportunity to address this important panel and this session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

You meet at a time of gathering momentum around the global development agenda. There is an unprecedented consensus that greater investments in development are an imperative for all of us – for our well-being, our security, our very freedoms. The proposals that I have just placed before the member states in advance of September's Summit give pride of place to that very message.

My report, “In Larger Freedom”, is meant to help member states take far-reaching decisions, including on strengthening the United Nations itself. As the Summit draws near, it is encouraging to see so many promising efforts taking shape. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have called for a doubling of official development assistance in five years. The European Union is contemplating setting ambitious new targets for ODA. Japan has announced a major increase in aid to Africa. Recent reports from the Millennium Project and the Blair Commission brim with sensible, affordable proposals, and stress the need to pay particular attention to Africa. With courage and wisdom in the months ahead, we could give the cause of development the push it needs to make a difference for decades to come.

The challenge now is to find the right mix of local action and international assistance. Developed and developing countries alike must live up to their responsibilities.

From developing countries, we need good governance, public investments in health, education and other basic services, and national strategies to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

From developed countries, we need a breakthrough in the Doha round of trade negotiations, and an immediate scaling up of resources. My report calls on the international community to launch an International Finance Facility, to front-load ODA, and to establish firm timetables by which donors would meet the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income in development assistance by 2015.

The issues you are focusing on at this year's session of the Commission are central to our hopes. Studies suggest that halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 will require a doubling of current investments, to $30 billion per year. UN-HABITAT estimates that improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 would require an estimated $5 billion a year.

We should not recoil from such numbers. Clean water, adequate sanitation and proper housing are important goals – in their own right, but also for achieving other Millennium Development Goals. By any measure, investments in these areas are sound, with high social returns.

Let us also recall that opinion polls in many developed countries show consistently that their citizens are generous in spirit – and that they would be willing to devote a much larger share of their taxes to economic and humanitarian assistance than is actually the case. We need to tap into that good will.

I believe the pieces are in place to reach a global deal to promote development, security and human rights for all people. Finance ministers and experts such as you are crucial players in this process. I look forward to working with you between now and September to make sure we gain results, to make this happen.

Thank you very much.


Statements on 18 April 2005