New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks at MDG Summit Side Event on the Least Developed Countries [as prepared for delivery]Mr. Prime Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to this meeting.
The world's least developed countries have made some progress in addressing some of the most pressing Millennium Development Goals. School enrolment has improved dramatically. Many countries have made good progress in reducing child mortality and expanding access to clean water.
These achievements are truly remarkable given that it happened at a time of multiple global crises. However, their vulnerable economies and MDG gains remain under unsustainable pressure. There is a strong case for a global crisis-mitigation and resilience-building package for LDCs.
Indeed, the LDCs remain the group facing the most severe challenges in achieving the MDGs.
Poverty remains very high. More than half the 800 million people in LDCs live below the poverty line. Only six of the 49 LDCs have poverty rates of less than 30 per cent.
Hunger and malnutrition are widespread. Progress in improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality has been slow.
Inadequate transport infrastructure and uneven power supply make countries less competitive. It is increasingly clear that economic infrastructure and productive capacity building hold the key to generating decent jobs, especially for the large youth populations in LDCs. More investment is also needed in agriculture, the backbone of many LDC economies.
The LDCs have done a lot to improve economic management and political governance. They have weathered the food, fuel and financial crises with limited safety nets and very limited fiscal space to promote job creation and protect social spending. The international community must continue to stand with them at this time, despite the economic difficulties that are putting pressure on aid budgets and other kinds of support. This is a moral commitment, first and foremost -- a test of global solidarity. But it is also true that growth and dynamism in the LDCs can help spur global economic recovery.
The Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs next year in Istanbul will be a major opportunity to deepen the global partnership envisaged in the MDGs. I call on all Member States to put their political weight behind this Conference. Our goal should be a new compact of targeted, generous and effective international support, grounded in the recognition of the importance of a properly empowered State.
The LDCs represent the poorest and most vulnerable segment of humanity. They remain at the epicenter of the developmental emergency. They have a special claim on our attention at this Summit and beyond.
I look forward to working with you to respond to their needs and to realize their aspirations.
Statements on 21 September 2010
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's message to Ad Hoc Liaison Committee Meeting [Delivered by Mr. B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks to MDG Summit High-Level Event "Towards Universal Energy Access"
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Panel on the Referenda in the Sudan
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks at event for Champions for Global Health
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's video message for "Ring the Bell" Campaign
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks to MDG Summit event: "1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future: Partnering to Reduce Child Under-Nutrition"
- New York, 21 September 2010 - Secretary-General's message on the International Day of Peace