12 September 2008


12 September 2008
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


Achieving the Millennium Development Goals was a fundamental test of the state of global partnerships for development, Srgjan Kerim, President of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly, said today as he accepted a United Nations MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Award at a Headquarters press conference.

“Reaching beyond Member States and actively involving other actors in our development agenda has been very much one of the operating principles I have advocated during this General Assembly session,” Mr. Kerim said this afternoon after receiving the Award in recognition of his work in promoting the eight anti-poverty targets to be met by 2015.  “I regard this Award as also the acknowledgement of the potential power of the General Assembly to be not just the venue for political commitments, but also a catalyst for creative partnerships,” he added.

Mr. Kerim was accompanied by Danny Glover, award-winning actor and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, as well as Francis Lorenzo and Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy, Permanent Representatives of the Dominican Republic and Madagascar, respectively.  Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan also addressed the press conference, via teleconference.

Mr. Lorenzo said the Awards were a central part of the MDG Festival telecast to be held in the General Assembly Hall in February 2009.  In that event, the Awards, alongside entertainment and high-profile international celebrities, would aim to draw greater public attention to the Millennium Development Goals and to notable efforts to achieve them.

Because of the public-private partnerships involved in making the event happen, it could also be called a model for the type of collaboration needed to fulfil the Goals, Mr. Kerim said.  “The UN Millennium Development Goals Award initiative is a wonderful example of the type of creative partnership building that is necessary in order to make good on our commitments made in 2000.”

Mr. Glover said he hoped that, by such events, a partnership with creative artists could help mobilize a worldwide grass-roots movement to achieve development that was not only sustainable, but also people-oriented.  “As my friend Ossie Davis said, ‘It’s going to take artists to save us from machines’,” he said, adding that he was happy to be working with all those who felt they had to be part of the solution –- whether they were from Government, civil society or the private sector.

Also congratulating Mr. Kerim on his Award, Mr. Andrianarivelo-Razafy urged him to continue his work, while Prince El Hassan voiced the hope that the international community could close the “human dignity divide”.

Asked how the Millennium Goals could be achieved in the short time remaining, the Assembly President emphasized the importance of both partnerships and fairness in the areas of trade and investment in order to give people the opportunity to eradicate poverty and improve their situation.

In response to a question about the MDG Festival, which had been planned for June 2008, Mr. Lorenzo said it had been postponed due to logistical reasons and conflicts with other awards.  The organizers were using the extra time to build an infrastructure that would last until 2015.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.