Stretch Out, Grab Target of Ending Extreme Poverty, Deputy Secretary-General Urges Regional Meeting on Preparations for 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit

19 February 2010

Stretch Out, Grab Target of Ending Extreme Poverty, Deputy Secretary-General Urges Regional Meeting on Preparations for 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit

19 February 2010
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Stretch Out, Grab Target of Ending Extreme Poverty, Deputy Secretary-General Urges

Regional Meeting on Preparations for 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit

Following is the text of Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose-Migiro’s remarks on the global preparations for the 2010 MDG Summit during the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Mexico City on 17 February:

I am pleased that we are kicking off our substantive discussions today with a particular focus on the Millennium Development Goals.  The MDGs, as they have come to be known, represent a historic compact between the world’s citizens.  They are a promise that all of us will focus on ensuring that every human being can realize her or his full potential.

As you know, the Goals were established in 2000 with the intent of working towards their realization by 2015.  We knew this wouldn’t be easy.  But we have reason for hope.  The world has made substantial progress towards many of the Goals in different regions.

We have mobilized action and resources.  We’ve encouraged policymakers to measure critical aspects of human development that previously went unmonitored.  And we’ve shown that we can produce real results.  Latin America and the Caribbean bear witness to the effectiveness of our efforts.

The United Nations family has played a critical role in keeping the Millennium Development Goals front and centre in discussions of development.  What’s more, the United Nations has helped put into place the structures needed to make the Goals feasible.  The financing for development process began here, in Monterrey in 2002, and continued in Doha in 2008.  It was complemented by ambitious promises at successive G-8 Summits to provide more support to the poorest and most vulnerable.

The aid effectiveness agenda advanced in 2005 in Paris and again in Accra in 2008.  In 2005, we convened the World Summit and began working with countries to craft MDG-consistent national development policies.  And over the last two years, we have brought together experts in a variety of forums -- like this meeting -- to determine what we need to do to protect progress on the Goals from the ravages of the economic and financial crisis.

The United Nations can be proud of all that it has done.  We have been a steadfast partner to our Member States.  But we cannot rest until all of the Goals have been achieved.  Every one is a necessary part of a world free of extreme poverty.  This goal -— the end of extreme poverty in our time -— could be within our grasp.  We have to stretch out and grab it.

This is why it will be a pleasure to gather again in September, as mandated by Member States, to identify a concrete, action-oriented plan to accelerate our progress towards the Goals.  We need your help to ensure success.  Indeed, Member States explicitly reached out to the Regional Commissions and invited you to participate in the preparations for the 2010 Summit.

The countdown to September is now well under way.  Earlier this month, the Secretary-General completed a report to Member States that identifies MDG successes, highlights gaps, and lays out an agenda to accelerate progress towards the Goals during their last five years.

This report benefited from a consultative process that brought together input from across the entire United Nations system:  from the regional economic commissions; from the member institutions of ECESA [United Nations Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs] and the United Nations Development Group; from the country level; and from the various elements of the global Secretariat.  The Secretary-General and I are immensely grateful for your hard work.

Extensive work is continuing within the United Nations Development Group on analytical papers on each of the Millennium Development Goals.  These will support Member States’ deliberations in six round tables and the general plenary on an action-oriented outcome document for the Summit.  We all hope that this document will provide a road map for the last five years towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

The President of the General Assembly and his co-facilitators -- the Permanent Representatives from Denmark and Senegal -- will be working with Member States to help bring about agreement on key aspects of the outcome document.  My team and I are collaborating closely with them.  The RCM [Regional Coordination Mechanism] may wish to make specific recommendations to them to underscore the regional dimension of this undertaking.

Over the next few months, we will be reaching out in a variety of ways to build support for the Summit and to engage a wide range of stakeholders.  In March, just a few days from now, we will conduct high-level dialogues in New York on financing for development.  In April, the spring meetings of the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and World Bank will provide an opportunity to pursue this theme in greater depth.  Looking forward to June, plans are under way for an interactive dialogue between Member States and non-governmental organizations.  You can play a vital role in ensuring that voices from this region are heard.

The Secretary-General has also created three groups to enhance our advocacy for the Millennium Development Goals.  At the recent African Union Summit in Addis, the Secretary-General announced the creation of a Group of Millennium Development Goals Advocates.  This collection of eminent personalities will help ensure a consistent drive for results.

These Advocates will be complemented by a wide-ranging set of “MDG Champions” -— celebrities and athletes who can create, with support from our colleagues in DPI [Department of Public Information], excitement for the Goals at the regional and national levels.  We hope you will take a key role in identifying potential Champions.

The Global Compact is also mobilizing business leaders to take action for the Millennium Development Goals.

Finally, under DESA’s [Department of Economic and Social Affairs] Chairmanship, I have convened an MDG Task Team to bring together and coordinate input to the Summit from across the United Nation system.  Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Stelzer is working closely with me to ensure all of your strengths are brought to the Summit.

These are some of the variety of ways in which you can contribute to ensuring a successful MDG Summit.  I have no doubt you will do everything possible to ensure the Summit advances us further towards the realization of our common aims.

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