Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Assistant Secretary-General

Remarks at Press Briefing to Launch the MDG Gap Task Force 2012 Report

Collective efforts of countries and development partners are paying dividends, as progress is visible in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, as reported in a set of MDG reports, progress has been uneven and slowed in a few critical areas.

Protracted global crisis has undoubtedly distracted international community that is struggling to stabilize economies. The global economic slowdown and austerity is taking its toll across the board as evident from stalemate in global partnerships and international development cooperation.

As we approach the last stretch towards 2015, UN is committed to encouraging fast tracking implementation of MDGs to reach underserved. The MDG Task Force report before you offers latest assessment and monitoring of the Global Partnership for Development. The findings are sobering and development cooperation would have to be enhanced in line with the emerging challenges as donors grapple with their domestic priorities. Let me share some core messages of the report:

First, of utmost importance is to reverse the decline in official development and dedicating adequate flows for the least developed and land locked countries. Persistent stagnation in aid flows during difficult global financial environment would impede the implementation of MDGs. This cannot be risked at a time when augmentation of pace is critical to close the MDG gaps and need to eventually work towards strengthening the content to ensure sustainability. Improvements in aid predictability, transparency and mutual accountability are also warranted.

Second, reinvigorating Doha rounds is important to facilitate improved market access, address structural imbalances in trading systems and discourage protectionist tendencies that together are stifling economic opportunities for developing countries. Credibility of Doha round negotiations can only emerge with stronger international commitment.

Third, debt ratios remain manageable within low-income countries. However, approaches will need to be designed to deal with renewed vulnerabilities in the wake of persistent global uncertainty and to implement outstanding debt relief agenda.

Fourth, enhanced access to medicines, coupled with regulatory framework for quality, would reinforce health MDG targets. Spread of new technologies has been amazing but concerted efforts are in order to ensure access to almost one third of underserved people in LDCs.

In moving forward, to ensure coherency and consistency of the agenda and its implementation, UN is examining approaches to strengthen the Development Cooperation Framework in light of the challenges outlined above and positioning the framework for Post 2015 development agenda. Most critical within this framework would be to restore ODA flows from traditional donors in line with commitments, while complementing these with financing support from South-South and private funders. Receptivity to financing would be there if stakeholders work towards aid effectiveness and mutual accountability for better development results. Accompanying these we require a real change in trade architecture to remove barriers for LDCs. Production and regulatory capacities for medicines will ease safe provision of pharmaceuticals and enhanced competition should be able to improve technology access, among others, for climate change initiatives.

The MDG Gap Task Force is a One UN undertaking. It is comprised of practically all UN development agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

I would also like to draw your attention to the interactive website that tracks all commitments made by stakeholders in developed and developing countries towards the achievement of the MDGs. This platform is called the Integrated Implementation Framework (IIF) and serves to strengthen mutual accountability. You can visit the website at iif.un.org. We count on your support to hold all stakeholders accountable for the promises they have made for achieving the MDGs, by reporting on the Task Force’s main findings.

In conclusion, let me reiterate message of Secretary General that progress made thus far lends confidence that our job is doable. However, global partnerships need to be energized backed by focus on delivery of MDGs supported by mutual accountability.

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