‘The Clock is Ticking,’ Secretary-General Says, Urging World Leaders to Generate Resources, Political will to Achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015

20 September 2010

‘The Clock is Ticking,’ Secretary-General Says, Urging World Leaders to Generate Resources, Political will to Achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015

20 September 2010
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


3rd & 4thMeetings (AM & PM)

 ‘The Clock is Ticking,’ Secretary-General Says, Urging World Leaders to Generate

Resources, Political will to Achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015‎

United Nations Chief Opens Summit on Progress to Meet Anti-Poverty Targets,

Assembly President Declares: ‘We Have No Right to Fail; World’s Eyes Are Upon Us’

Despite obstacles, scepticism and a fast-approaching 2015 deadline, the Millennium Development Goals could be achieved if the global community stayed true to the promise made a decade ago to end the dehumanizing conditions of poverty by making smart investments in infrastructure, opening export markets and generally rethinking conventional wisdom, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders today as he opened the General Assembly’s high-level meeting to take stock of progress.

Above all, there was a need for political leadership.  “We are waiting on you, world leaders,” he said, adding:  “The clock is ticking, with much more to do.”  The Goals could not be truly fulfilled while so many people lacked the basics for a life of dignity.  Addressing inequality among and within countries was vital.  States should not balance their budgets “on the backs of the poor”, nor withdraw from official development assistance.  On Wednesday, before the close of the meeting, he would launch a Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which he called the best chance for a multiplier effect across the Goals.

Considered a breakthrough when they were adopted 10 years ago at the Millennium Summit, the eight Goals formed a blueprint for ending extreme poverty that all partners, even those with differing views, had been able to embrace.  With just five years left in that 15-year plan, there was no global project more worthwhile.  “Let send a strong message of hope.  Let us keep our promise,” the Secretary-General urged.

With the creation of the Goals, the world body had brought forth great hopes for millions of people, said Joseph Deiss (Switzerland), President of the General Assembly, and now the 192-member body must live up to them.  “We have no right to fail,” he stressed.  While the economic and financial crisis had jeopardized gains, States understood that they had the know-how and the resources to succeed.  What was needed was commitment.  He called on all participants, as individuals, Heads of State and Government, and Members of the United Nations to proclaim their will to create the conditions essential for meeting the 2015 deadline.

However, it would take more than goodwill and commitments for the world’s poor to begin seeing improvements, said Ali Abdussalam Treki (Libya), former Assembly President who co-chaired the high-level event.  It would take good policies, tireless implementation and financial resources.  To bring about the changes mandated in the Millennium Declaration, hundreds of billions of dollars were still needed.  The quality, effectiveness and disbursement of aid were “far from optimal”.

Joining those officials in opening the session were the heads of several United Nations bodies and related international institutions, who painted a mixed picture of the state of global affairs, especially in the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis, and outlined measures to spur change.  Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said the future hinged on restoring sustainable global growth to pre-crisis levels.  Advanced economies should keep their Gleneagles pledges on aid and open trade markets, while developing nations should mobilize domestic tax revenue, which could be used to create social safety nets.

Additionally, said Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, ensuring quota-free access to markets was essential, as was the successful close of the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations.  Speaking to the development perspective in that equation, Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in her capacity as Chair of the United Nations Development Group, said progress required more inclusive economic growth models, scaled-up social protections and more access to affordable energy.  Leaders could make changes needed to put their countries on the fast track to achieve the Goals.  Going forward, the pledge made a decade ago could be turned into reality.  “Let’s just do it,” she said.

In the debate that followed, political leaders from all points on the map drew attention to substantial gains made in such areas as education, health and women’s empowerment, and underscored the importance of international assistance in helping their economies stay the course en route to 2015.  The economic and financial crisis had eroded, or in some cases wiped out, hard-won gains, some said, and their Governments would need technical, human and financial capital for some sectors to again succeed.

To that point, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, asked if the recent crisis was going to be used as a pretext for doing less or an opportunity to keep promises.  He announced that France, the second-highest contributor in assistance in euros each year, would increase its contribution by 20 per cent over the next three years to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  He also urged consideration of innovative financing measures to generate the resources necessary to meet the Goals.

Other leaders decried what they viewed as a skewed global economic order that catered to the strong at the expense of the weak.  Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, said, rather than incessantly focusing on the effects of extreme poverty, more time should be spent discussing its causes.  Indeed, unfair wealth distribution had created deprivation and the current economic and political framework was not geared towards solving that problem.  To reach the Goals, the global South must stop financing the global North, he declared, noting that such transfers had hit more than $500 billion in 2009.  A bank of the global South should be created so developing countries could finance themselves without conditions, and break their dependence on the International Monetary Fund.

Offering a different perspective, Malawi’s President Bingu Wa Mutharika was confident that his country would meet all eight Goals to varying degrees.  While those related to universal primary education, gender equality and maternal mortality required more concerted efforts, the remaining five would definitely be achieved.  Speaking about Africa as a whole, he urged the United Nations to review supply-side issues, which would improve access to services for ordinary people, especially women and children.  Mompati Merafhe, Vice-President of Botswana added that more support was needed for least developed and landlocked developing, and small island developing States because, on their own, they lacked the capacity to mitigate development challenges.

Also making opening remarks were the President of the Economic and Social Council, President of the World Bank and Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Heads of State and Government of Honduras, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Israel, Guatemala, Croatia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Turkmenistan, Serbia, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, Namibia, Georgia, Comoros and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also spoke.

Also addressing the Assembly today were the Kings of Swaziland, Jordan and Morocco, as well as the Emir of Qatar and Prince of Monaco.

The Prime Ministers of Bhutan, Spain, Norway, Samoa, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Bangladesh, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Greece also addressed the Assembly.  Also delivering remarks was the Second Vice-President of Burundi.

Also speaking was the Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro, as were the Federal Councillor of Switzerland and the foreign ministers of Thailand, Tunisia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, New Zealand, Mozambique, Estonia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Yemen.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Czech Republic also spoke, as did the Ministers of State of the Republic of Moldova, United Arab Emirates and Dominica, and the Secretary of State for External Relations of Angola and the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Oman.

The meeting also featured addresses by the Minister for Home Affairs of Nepal and the Minister for Health of Nigeria.  The Vice-Minister of Colombia spoke, as did the Vice-Minister of Planning of Mexico.

Also participating in the meeting were the representatives of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Speaking were the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the Holy See, President of the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union), Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Assistant Secretary-General for Social Affairs of the League of Arab States.

The Assembly will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, 21 September, to continue its high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.


The General Assembly met today to convene a high-level meeting to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals, which is set to run through Wednesday, 22 September.  With five years to go before the 2015 deadline for worldwide achievement of the Goals – which include cutting hunger and poverty in half, providing basic education for children, reducing infant and maternal mortality by two thirds and three quarters, respectively, and reversing the spread of infectious diseases - nearly 140 Heads of State and Government are expected to identify gaps and commit to steps to reach the targets agreed at the Millennium Summit.

In addition to plenary meetings and round-table discussions on key issues, various partnership events by Governments, United Nations agencies and leaders from civil society, foundations and the private sector are expected to result in announcements of new initiatives, including on women’s and children’s health.  At the end of the three-day gathering, world leaders are expected to adopt an action agenda, which would include measures for advancing progress on each Goal.

Opening Remarks

President of the General Assembly, JOSEPH DEISS, of Switzerland, quoting his country’s Constitution, said “the strength of a community is measured according to the well-being of its poorest”.  It was a moral duty to take care of the well-being of the other, an idea that summed up what the international community had pledged to do regarding the Millennium Development Goals.  In 2000, the most ambitious programme to combat poverty had been approved, showing that all peoples made up one single community.  No one could stand aloof from the suffering of others.

At that Millennium Summit, the General Assembly had brought forth great hopes for millions of people with the adoption of the Millennium Declaration and its Development Goals, he said, and now the 192-member body must live up to those hopes.  “Let us attain the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.  “We want to do it.  We must do it and we can do it.”  Beyond what Governments could do, there had been an enormous impetus in civil society and economic affairs.  He called on all — as individuals, Heads of State and Government, and Members of the United Nations — to proclaim their will to create the conditions essential for attaining the Goals by 2015.  One great merit of the Goals was that they set forth crystal clear targets with a clear deadline.

Now, with the world emerging from crisis, real progress must be made, he said.  Yes, poverty had receded globally, but some regions, especially sub-Saharan Africa, were lagging behind.  Additional efforts were particularly needed to combat poverty, improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality.  While the crisis had jeopardized gains, “we know what we must do and we have the resources to achieve what we must”.  What was needed was commitment from donors and beneficiaries.  There must be a real partnership.  “If we want to succeed, we must do so together.”

There was an excellent atmosphere at today’s opening of the summit.  A broad consensus had been achieved on the draft outcome document and he thanked those who had moved beyond their national interests to achieve consensus.  Indeed, the document provided the basis for action in the run up to 2015 and in that context, he urged a serene discussion.  “We have no right to fail,” he said.  “The world’s eyes are upon us.”

ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI, of Libya, former President of the General Assembly, in his welcome, noted the presence of so many high-level participants set a “strong, unified and unequivocal” message to the world about the importance of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.  Reminding the Assembly of its commitment to reach the clear targets outlined in the Goals by 2015, he heralded the progress that had been made in the past decade, including health care reaching more people than ever, and more children in school than 10 years ago, to name a few.

However, he noted the need for improvement in the areas of gender equality, maternal mortality, observing that almost 1 billion people still suffered from hunger and malnutrition.  The need for environmental sustainability and a fully realized global development partnership was also a challenge to be addressed as well, and he urged for such work to continue.  “We may disagree and have differences of opinion on how best to achieve these Goals, but we are in agreement as to the importance of not allowing the poor to be left behind,” he stated.

Turning to the past year’s efforts, he spoke of the openness, transparency and inclusiveness — pillars of the Assembly work that had been central to his Presidency.  The creation of UN Women and the revitalization of the General Assembly, among other benchmarks, were examples of how the United Nations remained a central component in developing and promoting the ideals of the United Nations Charter.  However, frankly speaking, he said that whatever was agreed at this week’s Summit would “only be words” unless the Organization’s efforts improved the lives of the poorest countries and communities.

Continuing, he said it would take more than goodwill for the world’s poor to begin seeing such improvements; it would take good policies, tireless implementation and, of course, financial resources.  Indeed, in order to bring about the changes mandated in the Millennium Declaration, hundreds of billions of dollars were still needed, and he asked why, with the enormous amount of aid already proffered, that such challenges still existed.  Illuminating the issues of misuse and misappropriation of resources and aid, he noted that the quality, effectiveness and disbursement of aid were “far from optimal.”

The Goals were only a framework, he continued, and development assistance could only accomplish so much.  In that regard the need for foreign and domestic financial investment, intensive job creation and pro-poor growth were essential to the transformation of developing countries into “self-sufficient economies”.  To that end, he called for a strong and equitable global partnership.  Although there would still be poverty, hunger, and millions of people living in “unliveable conditions” in 2015, he said that a concerted effort through goodwill could resolve so much and he urged the Assembly forward to reach the Millennium Goals.

Welcoming delegates to the summit, United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON, said “we are here because the fight for a more prosperous, stable and equitable world is at the heart of the United Nations”.

Ten years ago, meeting at the highest level, the global community had promised to spare no effort to free the world from want.  The Millennium Development Goals were a breakthrough.  Together, participants at the Millennium Summit had created a blueprint for ending extreme poverty, defined achievable targets and established a framework that all partners — even those with differing views — had been able to embrace.

“Now, we have real results,” he said, pointing to path-breaking public-private partnerships, dramatic increases in school enrolment, expanded access to clean water and better control of disease — in sum:  more development success stories than ever before.  The transitional impact of the Goals was undeniable and that was an achievement about which to be proud.

At the same time, those advances, many of them fragile, must be protected, he stressed.  There was much more to do, particularly for the mother who watched her children go hungry, a scandal repeated a billion times each night; for the young girl, weighed down with wood or water, when she instead should be in school; and for the worker far from home in a city slum, watching jobs disappear.

The reports before delegates today were filled with statistics, analysis and recommendations, he said, everything needed for effective policies and programmes.  Today, the global community was being asked to stay true to its commitment to end the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, which meant making smart investments in infrastructure, small farmers and social services.  On Wednesday, he would launch a Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, “our best chance for a multiplier effect across the Goals”.

That commitment also meant supporting the vulnerable, despite the economic crisis, he said, stressing:  “We should not balance budgets on the backs of the poor”, nor draw back from official development assistance (ODA).  It also meant truly fair trade and action on climate change, as deferring tough decisions to future generations only increased the costs.  Being true meant addressing inequality, among and within countries — even those that had registered impressive gains — as well as reconsidering conventional wisdom.

Despite the obstacles, scepticism and fast-approaching 2015 deadline, the Goals were achievable, he said.  This year, he had visited nearly a dozen African countries and seen what was possible, especially in Millennium Villages in Malawi and Benin.  Such faith must be rewarded with resolve, by using the tools at hand to deliver resources and, above all, exercising political leadership.

With that, he urged participants to make the Millennium Development Goals their own.  “We are waiting on you, world leaders.”  The Goals could not be truly fulfilled while so many lacked the basics for a life of dignity.  “Let us make this investment in a better future for all.”  There was no global project more worthwhile.  “Let us keep our promise.”

HAMIDON ALI, President of the Economic and Social Council, noted the “vital goal” that body had played in fulfilling the aims of the United Nations Charter, and he recalled the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit had mandated the Council to take a greater role in reaching the Millennium Development Goals.  To that end, two new functions, the Development Cooperation Forum and the Annual Ministerial Review had been incorporated and implemented into the Council’s efforts.

The Council focused on all the Millennium Goals, he continued, with its contribution to gender equality being “especially notable”.  Furthermore, the number of countries — 34 since the Annual Ministerial Review had become a part of the Council’s substantive work — volunteering to present their national level experiences had been encouraging.  During the Council’s 2010 session in July, 13 countries presented such progress reports, and another 13 were set to do the same in 2011.

Remarking on an area that called for improvement — monitoring commitments and accountability for developing and developed countries alike — he said that this year marked the second time the Development Cooperation Forum had held “groundbreaking discussions”, and established itself as a key venue for global dialogue.  The Forum was prepared to play an enhanced role in reaching the Millennium Goals by 2015.  He requested that when the Assembly reviewed the role of the Council during the sixty-fifth session, that it focus on the strengthening of the role of the Forum, which should meet every year rather than every two years.

Concluding, he turned to other areas being addressed by the Council, including the coordination of development work and operations with the Peacebuilding Commission and the importance of achieving the Millennium Goals in countries emerging from conflict.  Stating the Council’s solidarity with Haiti, he noted the special challenges that country faced as it emerged from disaster recovery and transitioned to development.  Through integrating resources from private and academic sectors, among other activities, the Council’s work towards the Goals would continue in a successful manner, he added.

ROBERT ZOELLICK, President of the World Bank, said the Millennium Development Goals were central to the role of the Bank Group’s mission and everyday work.  It would continue to work with its members, the United Nations and civil society to deliver the promise of the Millennium Declaration:  a world that overcame poverty and hunger; where all citizens had access to opportunity and hope.  “Success is possible,” he said, noting that in 1981, 52 per cent of people lived in extreme poverty; by 2005, that number had been cut by more than half.  Efforts by developing countries had paid off right up until the economic and financial crisis, with poverty falling sharply in East Asia, Latin America, and Eastern and Central Europe.

Success, however, had been uneven, and the “triple blow” of food, fuel and financial crises, had slowed and even reversed progress in many countries around the world, he continued.  In 2010, 64 million more people were in extreme poverty; some 40 million more went hungry because of the crises.  By 2015, the Bank estimated that 1.2 million children under 5 could die, and 100 million more people would not have access to safe water.  “These are not just challenges for a summit week.  These are everyday challenges,” he declared, stressing that poverty, hunger, inadequate education and disease were problems that affected communities far beyond the developing world.  Indeed, 70 per cent of the world’s poor lived in middle-income countries.

Turning to the Bank’s work, he highlighted its “Access Agenda”, a programme that would help to ensure access to basic health, quality schooling, clean water, energy, food, and jobs.  Such efforts would supplement the $33 billion in health and nutrition initiatives undertaken in developing countries over the past decade.

In health, the World Bank was increasing the scope of results-based programmes by more than $600 million until 2015, he continued, noting that it would focus on 35 countries, notably East Asia, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, which faced challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goals due to high fertility, poor child and maternal nutrition, and high rates of child and maternal disease.

To help countries reach education goals, the World Bank was increasing its zero-interest investment in basic education by an additional $750 million, with a focus on those countries not on track to reach the Goals.  Despite having quadrupled its lending since 2000, the Bank, he said, was increasing its infrastructure support, and to agriculture, which he said was central to boosting incomes, employment, and food security in many low-income areas.

Today, it was emerging economies helping to pull the world out of recession.  Some were emerging as economic powers and some were struggling to attain their potential in a new system.  “I believe in Africa,” he said, stressing that the continent could become a global pole of growth.  Before the economic and financial crisis, African economies were growing at 5 per cent a year and poverty was declining by about 1 per cent per year – a rate faster than India.  Primary school enrolment was rising faster than on any other continent.  Yet, there was another side:  the nearly 400 million who lived on $1.25 a day, the massive infrastructure deficit that leaves many without food, water or electricity.

With the right policies and good governance, with support for infrastructure and skills training, he stressed that Africa could attract investment.  In tourism, international tourism receipts had tripled in Africa.  That could just be the beginning, he said.  In conclusion, he said it was important to remember to look beyond the numbers; invest in what worked and fix what did not.  It was also important to remember that the international community’s development work was ultimately about empowering people, families and communities.

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said years of progress had been lost because of the economic and financial crisis.  As a result, about 70 million fewer people would escape the chains of poverty by 2020 and many millions more would suffer the consequences of underemployment or unemployment.  “We must strive for a speedy return to the pre-crisis past,” he stressed.  Everything hinged on restoring balance and sustainable global growth.  “I do insist on this.”  Without global growth, all other efforts to achieve the Goals would be frustrated.  “We will be treading water against a rapidly advancing tide,” he asserted.

For advanced economies, and leading emerging market economies, the first focus must be on securing a sustainable global economy and “getting the growth engine up and running again”.  That was not just a mantra — it was real and essential and it affected people’s lives.  Advanced economies should help developing countries by keeping Gleneagles pledges on aid and by opening trade, which was among the most important ways to unleash developing country potential.

For their part, developing countries must help themselves by building on past success, he continued.  Many had created fiscal and monetary room to support their economies and the most vulnerable in them.  Importantly, they must build “policy buffers” by mobilizing domestic tax revenue, which would help build social safety nets.  International institutions must also do their part.  During the crisis, the Fund had quadrupled its lending and created, for the first time, zero-interest loans to developing countries and streamlined its conditions.

The United Nations and the Fund shared common goals, he said, noting that both had been founded in the wake of the Second World War, when economic conflict had led to real conflict.  Leaders of the post-War world had vowed never to repeat such mistakes.  The Fund’s mandate began with economic stability and ended with a prosperous and peaceful world.  “We in the Fund, and you here in the United Nations, must now fulfil the mandate,” he said.  With so many fellow citizens marginalized, participants today had the opportunity to start again.  “Let us together fulfil that post-war promise and look forward to a world free of poverty and conflict.”

PASCAL LAMY, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, spoke of how that agency had actively participated in efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 8 on the global partnership for development.  The main aim of the World Trade Organization was to regulate trade, reduce trade barriers and create trade membership based on equality, regardless of whether a country was large, small, rich or poor.

The advantages of countries opening their borders to trade were obvious, including, among others, greater poverty reduction and stronger economic development.  Developing systems that established general use of restrictive trade prevented the poorest countries from being penalized and kept trade open.  Offering a brief overview, he stated recent estimates showed trade volume increases of 13.5 per cent, which was more than previously considered.  The World Trade Organization’s work ensured that the poorest countries were able to emerge more quickly from recession.

He said that more work could be done in the area of regulations, and strengthening of world partnerships and that to make good on past promises, ensuring access to markets without any quotas was essential.  That would assist the poorest countries and make it possible for them to grow in the future.  In the future, the agency’s conferences would examine the highlights and central elements of general trade.  Calling for the Doha Round of trade negotiations to be brought to a successful close, he concluded by stating that the efforts of the World Trade Organization and those of agencies and Governments aiming to ensure achievement of the Millennium Goals would lead to “true development” if all were reached at the same time.

SUPACHAI PANITCHPAKDI, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said that Millennium Development Goal agenda had helped to galvanize the collective promise to the international community to “make globalization a positive force for the world’s people”; however, the ongoing economic and financial crisis has been a major setback, putting the Goals beyond the reach of some regions by 2015.

Yet, even before the crisis, many countries were struggling to keep on track and, while the reasons were complex, a lack of productive investment and persistent employment in low-productivity fields had kept incomes low, and restricted economic diversification in many developing countries.  He said that UNCTAD has consistently pointed to the failure of finance-driven globalization and economic growth to establish the policy framework needed to address the structural causes of widespread poverty and deprivation, he said, citing the urgent need for policy change and action to help many countries achieve their goals.

The broader framework would emphasize investment, most notably in productive capacity, an equitable distribution of resources; policy space; and sustainable employment generation as the main drivers of poverty reduction, he said.  Supporting the framework at the international level, however, would require a renewal of trust along the multilateral system, he said, noting Thailand’s successful experiment with “sufficiency economy”, which helped alleviate poverty for millions of people.

The aim of that approach had been to find ways of engaging, in a balanced manner, safely and inclusively, with a globalizing world.  It emphasized development from within, conservation and moderation, which called for the sustainable use of resources and concern for the social and environmental impact of economic decisions.  Finally, he stressed that:  “To match the vision demonstrated back in 2000 and meet the MDGs – whether by 2015 or after – we must again find the courage and ambition to change the path of our economic development.”

HELEN CLARK, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), speaking in her capacity as Chair of the United Nations Development Group, said the summit could be “a real turning point” for achieving the Goals.  The challenge would be to follow words with actions and to keep pledges honoured.  A series of crises, natural disasters and conflict did not make that task any easier, nor did it make it impossible.  Achievement of one Goal could spur progress on another.  In that work, it would be vital to support country-led development processes, as well as to foster accountability, rule of law and human rights — the lack of which were all barriers to achievement of the Goals.

Progress would require more inclusive economic growth models, she said, and, following the Global Jobs Pact, providing productive work.  In addition, it would require increasing access to affordable energy; scaling up social protections; establishing effective budget systems; and building the capacity to deliver on the ground.  It would require investing more in the rights of women and girls; clean water and sanitation; and attending to the needs of the urban poor.  “If we focus on the most impoverished, we will also see quick improvements in maternal and child health,” she said, potentially averting millions of deaths.

With that in mind, she said, all the agency’s programmes were ready to support nations in their quest to meet the Goals.  In recent months, UNDP teams had piloted a framework to accelerate progress on the Goals, identifying bottlenecks and solutions.  Failure to meet the Goals could not be blamed on a lack of resources or know-how.  Proven policies adapted to national contexts would ensure progress.  Leaders could make changes needed to put their countries on the fast track to achieve the Goals.  Every day, efforts could go into reaching a trade deal, as well as a climate deal that both fostered development and protected the planet.  Achieving the Goals drew everyone together.  Going forward, the pledge made a decade ago could be turned into reality.  “Let’s just do it,” she said.


PORFIRIO LOBO SOSA, President of Honduras, said 10 years ago, Heads of State and Government had recognized and defended the principles of human dignity.  A decade later, the commitment to those fundamental values must be ratified.  In 2010, the greatest challenge was to extend the benefits of global economic growth to 1 billion people living in extreme poverty.  Good management in beneficiary countries and citizen-led efforts also were indispensable to breaking the bonds of hunger and ignorance.  The Millennium Development Goals were a first step on the right track, and he called for a new international agreement that would bind actions and the Goals by 2015.

He agreed that extreme poverty could be combated, but the fight called for strengthened efforts.  There was a joint responsibility to protect and share “common international goods”; solidarity through ODA.  One such good should be prudent economic management.  The same could be said for open trade and financial systems, as well as for access to international markets.  In the coming years, “we must act with more energy and work faster”, he stressed.

Describing the global picture, he said the population living on $1.25 a day had decreased only slightly and there had also been limited progress in other areas.  While universal primary education had advanced, promoting women’s empowerment called for more efforts.  At the same time, progress on reducing maternal mortality was far from the target set by the Goals.  As for HIV/AIDS, there was an enormous task ahead in tackling the spread of that disease, and more investment was needed.  Some countries had achieved progress, including Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia and Ghana.  Studies suggested that those countries could meet many of the Goals, and he called for renewed efforts to reach them.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, President of France, heralded the progress made towards sustainable development over the past decade, but stressed that “the road still to be travelled is a very, very long one”.  With five years left to reach the Millennium Development Goals, he asked the Assembly if the recent economic crisis was going to be used as a “pretext of doing less”, or an opportunity to keep the promises made 10 years ago when the Goals were launched.  He then announced that France, the second highest contributor in assistance in euros each year, would be increasing its contribution by 20 per cent over the next three years to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  Regardless of the deficits and concerns France and other members of the international community faced in the wake of the global financial crisis, the consequences of not fulfilling the Goals were much more serious.

He called for all developed countries to join France, do more, and to make Africa a priority.  He stated the known fact that 1 million children died each year from malaria.  “Let me be crystal clear:  before the end of my statement, 30 children will have died from malaria.  We have no right to hide behind the crisis to do less.”  It was not a question of making statements but taking action and decisions and that the goals needed were not just public funds but involvement from the private sector.

As the future President of the Group of 20 (G-20) and the Group of Eight (G‑8), France planned to do its utmost to incorporate innovative financing into the global dialogue.  Developing countries suffering from deficits needed to find new sources to resolve the major health crises and educational challenges they faced, and he told the Assembly:  “We can take decisions here.  Why should we wait?”  For example, he noted that the financial commitments on climate change made in Copenhagen wouldn’t be possible to reach unless innovative financing was implemented.  Concluding, he called for next year to be a year of change.  Member States must not fall back into bad habits.  In that regard, France would not just be making statements or offering lessons but would actively participate in concrete initiatives and lead the world towards solidarity and innovative financing.

ISLAM KARIMOV, President of Uzbekistan, said that the ongoing wars and conflicts on the planet, including inter-State, inter-ethnic, and interreligious confrontations, were among the most serious obstacles to the struggle against poverty.  The confirmation for that truth could be seen in long-suffering Afghanistan.  He proposed searching for alternative ways of achieving peace and stability there, among them the creation of the contact group “6+3” under the United Nations auspices, which had been proposed by Uzbekistan in 2008.  This initiative was based on the idea that the problems of Afghanistan must be resolved by the Afghans themselves.  The most important objectives of the group would be to propose a programme for the secession of military operations in the country, to find compromise solutions on key problems, and to render economic aid.

He said that the tragic inter-ethnic conflict in June 2010 in Kyrgyzstan, during which hundreds of people had been killed in the south of the country, constituted a serious threat to the stability of the Central Asian region.  The Kyrgyz nationals and Uzbek diaspora in the south had become victims of a well-thought-out and organized action by third-party forces, which aimed to instigate chaos and create an interstate confrontation between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.  His country had received more than 100,000 refugees and had not allowed the brutal violence to expand.  He called for humanitarian assistance to Kyrgyzstan from the world community and an independent international inquiry and trial concerning the pogroms, murder and violence.

Mr. Karimov added that the tragedy of the drying and vanishing Aral Sea, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had visited earlier this year, stood as an example of the world’s irresponsible attitude towards environmental problems.  Calling for the preservation of the natural biological pool of the area adjacent to the Aral Sea, he proposed switching to building less dangerous but more economical, small hydropower stations on the two rivers — Amrudarya and Syrdary — to create the same energy-generating capacities.  Turning to Uzbekistan’s steps in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he stated that over 50 per cent of the country’s State budget was channelled annually to the social sphere.  Since independence, resolute steps had been taken to radically repair the health-care system and reduce infectious diseases.  The maternal mortality and child rates had decreased dramatically.  He noted that, in 2008 and 2009, the growth rates of the country’s economy had been 9 and 8.1 per cent, respectively, and that, in 2010, the growth rate was expected at 8.5 per cent.  He praised Uzbekistan’s model of democratization and transition to a free-market economy, stating that the country had rejected the methods of “shock therapy” from the outset.  He also underscored that the annual expenditures for education made up 10-12 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), and emphasized Uzbekistan’s support for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s global action plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

King MSWATI III of Swaziland drew a link between agricultural development and the eradication of extreme poverty.  His country’s Government had a programme in place to provide tractors, seeds and fertilizers, enabling farmers to till their land on time.  More resources were needed, however, to build dams as well as boreholes for both irrigation and household use.  Swaziland’s aim was to ensure greater production of staple foods, as well as diversification of agricultural exports and access to new markets.

Empowering children with business skills, thus enabling them to start their own enterprises, was an aim of the school curriculum in Swaziland, he said.  The country was also determined to equip its children with information and communications technology, so as to ensure that they were at par with their peers in developed countries.  The country had also started to roll out free primary education to ensure that every child had access to free education by 2015.

Health had been declared a priority area in Swaziland, where hospitals and clinics were continuously being built, he said.  Added to that were efforts to attract and retain local professionals, with the aim of saving on the huge cost of sending patients with complicated medical conditions abroad on referrals.  Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, and other social impediments had hampered improvements in maternal care; Swaziland’s response had been to advocate good health practices and encourage people to adopt preventative measures.  A comprehensive HIV programme was to be scaled up and delivered more speedily in the coming year; there had, meanwhile, been a significant increase in access to antiretroviral therapy since 2005.  Malaria, meanwhile, had entered an elimination phase after Swaziland had achieved the Goal regarding that illness.  The country’s best practice against malaria was contributing significantly to Southern African Development Community (SADC) efforts.  He added that his country’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals was further strengthened by the fact that its national development strategy, adopted in 1998, set the road map for becoming a developed nation.

EVO MORALES, President of Bolivia, said poverty had been seen from the viewpoint of its effects, rather than its causes.  Unfair wealth distribution had created poverty and the current economic and political framework was not creating solutions to end it.  “Very few of us are entitled to live in the lap of luxury,” he said.  To reach the Goals, the global South must stop financing the global North.  It was estimated that developing countries had transferred $891 billion in 2008 and more than $500 billion in 2009 — eight times more than ODA received by developing countries, which hit $125 billion annually.

States must determine how to end such practices and invest those funds in education, health and combating poverty, he said.  Investment must also be made in sport, as youth were losing their values in some societies, as well as in “harmony with Mother Earth”.  With that in mind, he urged nationalizing key resources and utilities so that their dividends would benefit the population.  Sovereign rules for foreign investment must be devised to ensure reinvestment in national potential.  “We want partners.  We do not want bosses,” he said.  All basic services were a human right, especially water.  They could not be private business.

He also suggested that a bank of the global South be established, instead of placing national resources in developed country banks, so that developing countries could finance themselves without conditions or adjustments.  That would break their dependence on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  In Bolivia, various social indicators had improved and there was a domestic market which created growth.  Bolivia had eliminated illiteracy, thanks to South-South cooperation and he highlighted Cuba and Venezuela in that regard.  The poorest 40 per cent of global population had only 5 per cent of the global income.  In turn, 70 per cent of global income went to the top 5 per cent of the population.  That was an unfair wealth distribution.

MWAI KIBAKI, President of Kenya, heralded the economic growth experienced in his country, which had increased from 5 per cent in 2002 to 7 per cent in 2007.  Despite the slowing of growth over the last two years due to the global and economic crisis in recent times, he was optimistic about the new Constitution - with a two-tier system of national and county governance - that reflected the aspirations of the Kenyan people.  He believed that it would ensure accelerated growth.  The national budget committed no less that 15 per cent to counties, which was increased from 2.5 per cent previously available under the Constituency Development Fund.

He shared the tremendous strides Kenya had made towards universal education and gender parity, establishing free and compulsory education, which resulted in an increased enrolment from 5.9 million children in 2002 to 8.6 million children in 2009.  In primary schools, there was now near gender parity.  Further to that end, he said the new Constitution would bridge the remaining gender gaps by ensuring that 30 per cent of public appointments in Parliament and local authorities would be women.

Turning to the area of health care, he said that rates of immunization of children between the first and second years of life had been increased by 80 per cent.  The expansion of public health facilities, services, campaigns and personnel also resulted in a reduction of the prevalence of HIV from 13 per cent in 1994 to 6.3 per cent in 2009.  Further, 68 per cent of all households had received free treated mosquito nets in the fight against malaria.  He observed the lack of significant progress in the Doha Development Agenda and the conclusion of a multilateral trading-system arrangement that delivered “real and substantial benefits to developing countries”.  Most developing countries had been diverting resources to achieve the Millennium Goals to service high external debts.  Thus, he proposed that debt sustainability be defined in terms of a country’s capacity to meet those Goals.  He was confident that this meeting would “create renewed impetus and momentum” to fulfil those targets by 2015.

SHIMON PERES, President of Israel, said science, creativity and knowledge had replaced land as the source of wealth.  While land could be conquered, science could not.  Still, terrorists spread violence caused by ideological differences, social gaps and sheer fanaticism.  But modern science was able to provide new answers and the coming 10 years would see an explosion of knowledge.  He spoke on behalf of a small people and a tiny land, which had been attacked seven times in 62 years.

Despite wars, Israel had made peace with Egypt and Jordan, and had left Gaza on its own initiative, he said.  Now, Israel was negotiating with the Palestinians on a way to realize the two-State solution:  a Jewish State, Israel, and an Arab State, Palestine.  “I believe we shall succeed,” he said, noting that Israel also was ready to enter direct negotiations with Syria right away.  Israel was committed to the Goals, and shared the burden of saving the world from war and hunger.  Without peace, poverty would remain, and without food, peace would not prevail.

Five decades ago, an Israeli farmer produced food for 15 persons, he said; today, he produced for 120.  To cultivate land, States must also cultivate education and improve health.  Israel had introduced free compulsory education for all, while the national health-care system provided world-class treatment for every citizen.  “Our path is available to everyone,” he said, and Israel was ready to share its experience.  While some had said there was no future for Israel in the Middle East, he believed the region had room for “every person, every nation, every religion”.  Recalling his younger days on a kibbutz, he said it was there he learned to respect pioneers.  He called on delegates to harness science and technology to increase food production, and second, to stand together against terror.  “A terrorized world will never be governable,” he said.

ÁLVARO COLOM CABALLEROS, President of Guatemala, said despite his country’s progress in meeting many of the Millennium Development Goals, the pace was slow, and in some cases, unsatisfactory.  Addressing environmental sustainability was among the country’s greatest challenges, he said, and, due to the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters, there was a dramatic increase in cases of acute malnutrition in children.  He added that indicators had shown that progress on chronic under-nutrition was “stagnant”.

Despite such setbacks, however, the country had strengthened and improved its efforts to monitor and detect cases of malnutrition to achieve early intervention, and stressed it would continue to tackle these chronic problems over the next five years, he said.  Thanks to new programmes offering free public health and education, Guatemala had seen the largest growth in the last fifteen years in the area of school enrolment for elementary education for boys and girls, as well as expanded access to mid-level education.  It had also expanded its services in prenatal care, maternity services for women, and controlled growth and medical attention for child disease, most notably in rural areas.

While Guatemala understood the urgency of addressing the fiscal restrictions in its public sector, he expressed his hope for continued support from the international community.  In closing, he reiterated his Government’s determination to reach its goals by 2015, and reiterated Guatemala’s commitment to continue working hand-in-hand with the global community.

King ABDULLAH II of Jordan said the Millennium Development Goals spoke to some of the most important truths of the twenty-first century:  that global security and prosperity were in danger, while billions lived in want.  Developing countries and donors had vital responsibilities if the Goals were to succeed.  There was real work ahead to energize a fresh drive forward.  Each gain would reinforce others, from better education and health care to improved living standards.  By integrating such work into national and global strategies, “we can maximize change”, he said.  Gains could not be consolidated without ensuring conditions on which growth depended: peace, partnership and global opportunity.  A developing country must own its path to development.

The foundations were in place, he said, adding that there were no one-size-fits all solutions.  Developed countries had deep interests in supporting global advances and important tools to do so.  Their commitment was essential in times of economic crisis.  In Jordan, public-private partnerships had long been part of the country’s development success, having integrated the Goals into its national strategy for structural reform.

Also, the Government had scaled up — and out — its development efforts, and today, in its schools and through its health care, Jordan was in the process of achieving the Goals.  He said that Goal 2 (universal education) had been achieved.  At the same time, a lack of regional peace meant that when warfare diverted resources from economic growth, economies were undermined and poverty grew.  Development programmes could help build peace, but they ultimately depended on peace to succeed long term; that was why “friends of development” must be “friends of peace”.  The Middle East had long been denied that peace and it counted on international support to achieve it.  Jordan was ready to work together to meet the Goals.

JIGMI YOEZER THINLEY, Prime Minister of Bhutan, said his country was well on its way to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals and most would be achieved before the 2015 deadline.  Other countries were showing similar progress, after reorienting the policies and resources to achieve the Goals.  The current Summit would help generate the determination and means to ensure that Governments in danger of failing their people would continue to receive the technical and financial resources they needed from the international community.

“Humanity needs to get off the perilous path on which the wrongful use of GDP has set it since […] the 1930s,” he continued.  It was dangerous and stupid, and not just unsustainable to endlessly pursue material growth in a world with limited natural resources and a delicately balanced ecology.  China and India were now aspiring to compete in consumption with the United States.  What would happen if every global citizen acquired the same voracious capacity?  The rising frequency and fury of natural calamities was one indication.  The current economic recession, whose bottom had not yet been seen, was another.

Some 40 years ago, he added, Bhutan had chosen to pursue a development path based on a philosophy of “gross national happiness” defined as a judicious equilibrium between gains in material comfort and spiritual growth, within a just and sustainable environment.  The approach involved pursuit of four basic goals:  socio-economic development that was equitable and sustainable; environmental conservation; promotion of culture; and good governance.  That measure of “happiness” should be adopted as the ninth Millennium Development Goal.  It would let the Goals reach beyond the poor and developing States to bind all of humanity, rich and poor, to a timeless common vision.  “The inclusion of happiness as the ninth goal will confirm we are confirmed with the quality of life,” he said.  A broader set of outcome indicators would be the result.  Those could be developed for uniform application.

JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO, Prime Minister of Spain, said it was possible to fulfil the Goals in the next five years.  Progress would be significant if each country fulfilled its commitments.  For its part, Spain had doubled its development aid over the last five years, and it was a determining donor to the United Nations system, particularly with regards to food security and gender equality.

He went on to put forward two ways in which the Goals could be attained.  First, countries had to keep up their efforts and maintain their attention on development despite the financial crisis.  Spain would strive to stick to its pledge to direct 0.7 per cent of its GDP to development assistance.  Second, all Governments should clearly support a tax on international financial transactions.  The Government of Spain had committed itself to defending such a tax and to seeing it implemented through all international forums.  It was logical that nations undertake minimum efforts via the financial system to lift millions out of extreme poverty.  Spain would defend its position on that issue at the G-20, the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other organizations.  With small efforts, the Goals could be met.  “We have to do that and we will do that,” he declared.

IGOR LUKŠIĆ, Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro, emphasized the need for “cooperation and interdependence” between Member States in order for the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved.  His country’s efforts to that end had shown its commitment to the Goals, including the adoption of a National Strategy of Sustainable Development in 2007 and the establishment of a National Council for Sustainable Development to ensure dialogue and partnership and support broad-based development, among others.  His country, he continued, would be able to achieve almost all tasks set at the national level by the 2015 deadline.

He emphasized at the same time that Montenegro’s challenges included the reduction of regional economic, social and cultural disparities, as well as the strengthening of the rule of law and expanding gender equality, to name a few.  Furthermore, because of its location, biodiversity and a growing tourist destination, environmental issues were of great concern.  Sustainable use of resources was thus a priority in efforts to reach Montenegro’s Millennium targets.  Through regional and global integration, political stability and economic prosperity would support achievement of the Goals.  He supported the European Union’s commitment to increase aid to developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan and least developed nations.

VICTOR BODIU, Minister of State of the Republic of Moldova, said his country had integrated the Millennium Development Goals in its national development strategy and sectoral plans, with clear and measurable targets.  It had also set performance evaluation indicators for national policies.  Two weeks ago, the country had launched the Second National MDG Report, which presented an accurate analysis of achievements and set the targets and objectives to be reached by 2015.  In the past several years, the Republic of Moldova had registered a mixed, but overall positive, progress in reaching the Goals.  The majority of indicators showed advancements, even though, in certain areas, the intensity was still not sufficient to attain all the set targets.  “Despite the fact that Moldova is still recovering from the global economic crisis and has been severely hit by floods in July 2010, the Government of Moldova is committed to sustain the achieved targets and gradually accelerate its actions to reach all national targets by 2015,” he said.  The country’s leadership had a vision, ownership and determination to make that possible.

The Government was currently working on a national acceleration plan for the Millennium Development Goals that would transform the recommendations of the Second National Report into concrete actions, he said.  It was determined to promote sectoral policies to target fields with less successful indicators in terms of Millennium Development Goals attainability.  The Republic of Moldova’s key priorities were to improve health education in schools; ensure wider coverage of the social protection network; expand environmental sustainability programmes; optimize school and hospital infrastructure and ensure better social inclusion of vulnerable groups; expand multisectoral partnerships and intensify concrete actions to fights HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; and improve water and sanitation.  Migration had a massive impact on the development process in the Republic of Moldova and the Government gave careful consideration to its negative impact, along with the huge economic benefits of remittances.

MICHELINE CALMY-REY, Federal Councillor of Switzerland, said that, while the beginning of the new millennium had been a splendid time in history, when virtually nothing appeared impossible, even achieving the greater global challenge of all — reduced poverty — that euphoria was today slightly tempered.  Progress in reducing the number of poor people worldwide, in access to primary education and drinking water, and in gender equality was still insufficient.  The international community needed to address a number of questions about development.  Were donor countries on the wrong track?  Were they not doing enough?  Did the international production and trade system still work against poor countries?

She noted that the majority of the countries and regions which were off track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals were characterized by fragility of State institutions, conflict or armed violence, and that measures needed to be taken to ensure the provision of basic services and the proper functioning of national institutions.  To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, she called for mutual accountability among countries; respect for human rights and the right for all social groups, namely women and minorities, to participate; the creation of economic foundations for the improved well-being of all, including a place in the production process and global trade; as well as the rule of law in the private sector, and appropriate taxation for both enterprises and individuals.

She also noted that climate change had become a core issue in the development debate, and the task of adapting to climate change would be a vital part in efforts concerning the developing countries, since changing climates could trigger enforced migration and spill over into conflicts over water and arable land.  Greater efforts should be made to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to achieve the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.  She concluded that international cooperation was facing major changes, since the limits of what was ecologically sustainable would soon be reached, and that the equitable distribution of resources and the transition to a green economy were more necessary than ever.  Further, the international community needed to debate more openly and directly the reasons why development was stagnating, and then set its objectives accordingly.

BHIM BAHADUR RAWAL, Minister for Home Affairs, Nepal, noted that the least developed countries lagged “starkly” behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, yet the Goals could not be achieved without those countries.  Nepal’s own efforts had resulted in the Goals fully integrated into national development policies and programmes.  However, without enhanced and additional support from the international community, those targets would not be met.

There were successful national programmes, he stated, including partnership for poverty eradication, community management of schools and forests, and maternal-health-related programmes, to name a few.  Still, poverty and hunger continued to challenge development, and he noted the need for innovated approaches and equity in sharing of global resources, among others.  “The business-as-usual approach will not be sufficient to address the root causes and multidimensional aspects of development challenges,” he said.

Being landlocked and least developed, Nepal faced additional difficulties, such as the disproportionate impact of climate changes from the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas, among others.  Because their high vulnerability and deep structural constraints, Nepal and other least developed countries were different from other countries in their ability to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and he urged the international community to give priority consideration while making decisions on international support measures and resource allocations.  National leadership and ownership of development were key in achieving sustainable development, he said in conclusion, but “there is no substitute for a stronger global partnership”.

KASIT PIROMYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, recalled the profound changes in circumstances over the past decade, including the food, fuel and financial crises, which had rolled back development efforts.  Climate change had proved a threat to people’s security as well, and it was obvious that humankind faced one of its most crucial junctures.  The next five years would see a number of benchmarks relating to sustainable development, including the climate change negotiations and the Rio+20 Conference; those “jigsaw puzzles” had to be pulled together, so as to achieve internationally agreed development goals in a sustainable manner.

He said good governance was crucial in ensuring that people benefited from development strategies.  Further, the development agenda must be people-centred and it was critical to enhance international cooperation.  It was also important to ensure the sustainability of development progress.  Thought should go into achieving the Goals in a more strategic manner, for example by setting goals such as the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger as immediate targets.  Achieving some goals first could ease the way to achieving others.  In addition, for the long term, it was crucial to proceed further from the Goals towards sustainable development.

CHRISTIAN ONYEBUCHI CHUKWA, Minister of Health of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of his country’s President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, noted the opportunity of the Summit to redirect the global agenda towards the ultimate realization of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  Nigeria had, since 2000, mainstreamed Millennium Development Goal-related programmes into its development and budgeting process, which, he noted, had been assisted by its negotiations on debt relief.  Further, targets had also been integrated into medium- and long-term national development strategies, along with the implementation of new initiatives to reduce poverty and improve public service.  All those efforts were in service of meeting the Goals and placing Nigeria among “the top 20 economies of the world by 2020”.

In his overview of Nigeria’s efforts, however, he noted that, despite its strong determination, progress had been mixed and significant challenges remained.  Sustained economic growth and improvements in agricultural yields with its ensuing impact on children’s health were clear indicators of success.  Yet the rates in poverty reduction had not been sufficient.  Nigeria was reasonably on course to reach the Goal on the reduction in child mortality.  However, for most of the early years of the Goals, Nigeria had had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.  More recent data showed considerable progress, and Nigeria, committed to making faster progress, had deployed almost 2,500 midwives since 2009 to raise the number of births attended by skilled health workers.

Innovation and improvement in governance, accountability and policy would aid in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he said, but additional support was required.  To rise to those challenges, a new five-year countdown strategy — road map to accelerate Nigeria’s progress, linked to the medium- and long-term visions, had been implemented.  He was confident, he said in conclusion, that by working more efficiently and in a better coordinated way with its partners, Nigeria would achieve its goals and he called for the support of the international community.

PATTI LONDOÑO-JARAMILLO, Vice-Minister of Multilateral Affairs of Colombia, said the Millennium Development Goals had been integrated into her country’s strategies for poverty reduction and President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón would be showcasing the country’s achievements as one of three countries presenting their progress at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) special activity related to acceleration frameworks.  She highlighted that Colombia had had an increase of more than 2.5 million students in the basic educational system, allowing the country to reach universal coverage in the last seven years.

She shared Columbia’s experience in the Alta Guajira bringing comprehensive social progress to the Wayuu indigenous community, a process involving the community, local and regional authorities and the national Government.  Within a three-year period, with a total investment of $40 million and administrative costs of only 0.77 per cent, Colombia had transformed the lives of 100,000 people, solving problems of safe drinking water, education, health, citizen registration and clean energy, she said.

She invited the United Nations to join Colombia in a pilot programme in 20 municipalities, based on a common strategy and using the experience applied in the Alta Guajira.  Colombia would like to implement local development projects with high social impact.  It believed in a systemic approach with measures and policies that attained solutions to problems such as water, housing, education, health, citizenship registration and energy, and was ready to share its local development methodology.

KHALID ABDALRAZAQ AL-NAFISEE ( Saudi Arabia) drew attention to the relationship between the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development, and harmony between local and international partners.  Achieving the Goals would require a strengthening of infrastructure that would involve a broader participation of women in the economy, reducing unemployment, enhancing technology and telecommunications, and building an environment conducive to the participation of all, including youth and women.

Saudi Arabia was ahead of schedule in implementing the Goals, he said.  Important progress had been made in eliminating extreme poverty.  Saudi Arabia had also extended help to people around the world as much as it could, based on its humanitarian convictions; 1.5 per cent of its GDP had gone towards ODA, making it one of the biggest international aid donors.  Such aid included loans, gifts, emergency relief and debt forgiveness, he said.

IVO JOSIPOVIĆ, President of Croatia, said the Millennium Declaration laid the foundation for global partnership for development.  That partnership should be fostered by a spirit of shared responsibility and solidarity.  Today’s plenary meeting to assess what would be needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the remaining years, he stressed, must factor in trends that seriously impeded current efforts.

Issues such as national-turned-global crises and poverty levels were important warnings to avoid being further derailed from the collective promises made.  Over the past two years, substantial efforts had been made towards curtailing the decline of national gross domestic product and create preconditions for initiating a new cycle for development.  However, that process was not immune from serious social implications.  Current trends such as unemployment and social stresses on populations continued to hinder global efforts.  Given that, he underscored the importance of reaching an agreement as to how best to implement the Millennium Goals in the future.  That, in his mind, was the imperative for today’s meeting.

Croatia, he noted, remained fully committed to the full implementation of the Millennium Goals at the national and global level.  Highlighting progress made in Croatia, he said his country was contending with multiple economic difficulties that had caused declines in growth, development, and employment.  He was confident Croatia would soon become the twenty-eighthmember of the European Union and, driven by European ideals, had invested significant resources in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  In its transition from a war-torn country, Croatia had embarked on a path of difficult recovery, which had lasted 18 years.  It had dealt with numerous problems and, by its own efforts, began a path to reconciliation and development.  He also noted some of his country’s donor activities, aimed at sharing knowledge and experiences with other countries.  In closing, he stressed that “as world leaders, we must not spare any effort in finding viable, durable and affordable solutions for all”.

HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL-THANI, Emir of Qatar, said the global economic crisis had had a negative impact on the international community’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in poor developing countries.  Development assistance diminished and foreign direct investment receded.  Achievement of the Goals at the global level was uneven.  Although some countries had made remarkable achievements, many developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, had not reached the targets of most Millennium Development Goals.  The achievement of all internationally agreed development goals depended primarily on the essence of the global partnership.

He said the achievement of the Goals required that each of the parties carry out its duty.  Developing countries must adopt comprehensive national strategies, promote good governance, fight corruption and create an attractive environment for investment.  Developed countries should undertake reforms to ensure stability of the international financial system, reduce trade distortions and issue timetables regarding their commitment.  The delay in the negotiations of the Doha Round had caused huge disappointment for developing countries.  Countries involved in the negotiations should focus on establishing a multilateral trade system characterized by openness, fairness and non-discrimination.

He said that Qatar had realized most of the Millennium Development Goals and was on track to achieve all of them by 2015.  The Qatar National Vision 2030 had emphasized four pillars to address all Millennium Development Goals:  human development; social development; economic development; and environmental development.  The country had been a partner in supporting efforts to combat poverty and disseminate the fruits of global growth in a more equitable manner.  It had also stressed the commitment for allocating the specified percentage of gross national income as development aid.  Development aid, outside of contributions to United Nations funds, had reached $382 million in 2009.  In promoting international cooperation, he mentioned Qatar’s hosting of the 2001 Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, which had resulted in the Doha Round, the South Summit in 2005 and the Conference for New or Restored Democracies in 2006.

KING MOHAMMED VI, King of Morocco, noted that the question on everyone’s mind was what specific goals have been achieved under the Millennium Declaration.  Today’s meeting should be used to make an objective assessment and devise strategies to achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015.  Responsibilities in that regard should be shouldered collectively, he stressed.  The Millennium Goals must take centre stage in national policies, particularly within developing nations.  In 2005, his country launched the National Initiative for Human Development.  The Initiative’s projects sought to address shortcomings in social development efforts by creating jobs and income-generating activities.

As credit to the Initiative, Morocco had progressed well towards achieving the Millennium Goals.  Headway had been made, particularly with regard to poverty eradication and improving living conditions in both rural and urban areas.  Moreover, his country had made noteworthy progress in its sovereign decision regarding gender equity in family, health, school and job market issues.  Continuing, he highlighted progress made in protecting the environment, combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.

To promote a global partnership based on solidarity, Morocco had made human development and achieving the Millennium Goals central to its South-South cooperation policy, especially with regard to its sister African countries.  He stressed that a firm political commitment made by all countries, and supported by a global, specific partnership mechanism with a clear implementation table, was the best guarantee for achieving the Millennium Goals.  It was also important, however, to anticipate potential future problems and begin considering the broad line of global actions beyond 2015.

EMOMALI RAHMON, President of Tajikistan, stated that, as one of the eight pilot countries identified for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the country had already considerably reduced poverty as a result of the implementation of its national development plan.  In addition, the number of children attending elementary and high schools had increased and the quality of social services had improved, as the country had channelled about half of the Government’s budget to the social sector, mainly to education and health care.

He highlighted several priorities in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Reform of the international finance system, for example, should focus on creating favourable external conditions and strengthening global partnership.  An increased share of renewable energies at the global level and transfer of new and advanced technologies would provide access to energy and energy efficiency, mitigating climate change.  Tajikistan had a number of hydropower stations under construction, not only for generating energy, but for irrigation, which was important for all of Central Asia.

“Water is a vitally important resource that unites all MDGs,” he said.  He emphasized that the recommendations of the Dushanbe Declaration on Water, which had been approved by over 75 countries, could be a worthy contribution to the action agenda for the Millennium Development Goals.  Highlighting the significant disparity in the development of the developed and developing countries, he called for increased measures to strengthen global partnership.

ABDULLAH GÜL, President of Turkey, announced that his country was “well on its way” towards achieving the Goals, having adopted them as its primary national development targets and integrated them into its development plans.  Because of solid financial resources, comprehensive social welfare programmes, which improved quality of life for vulnerable populations, were now sustainable.  With direct payments to mothers, 100 per cent enrolment of girls in primary school was on track.  A new social security system was ensuring that Turkish citizens received universal health coverage, and measures for environmental sustainability had been introduced into policy, to name a few initiatives.

He added that development issues were now an integral part of Turkey’s foreign policy agenda, with a focus on least developed countries, particularly through technology and know-how transfer.  Turkey’s ODA had increased to more than $1.5 billion annually.  Turkey was preparing to host, once again, the United Nations Conference on the least developed countries, which he hoped would generate strong political momentum and new partnerships to address the “persistent challenges” of those countries, as well as demonstrate that Turkey had become a reliable partner for development.   “While we may not have too much time left for progress toward the MDGs, we certainly have the will and capacity to achieve them,” he said, urging the international community to “act now and act swiftly”.

Equal importance must be attached to each and every Goal, he said, outlining several guidelines drawn from Turkey’s own experience as an emerging economy, including that the overarching objective must remain the eradication of poverty and hunger.  Also, strategies should be adopted in favour of the poor and vulnerable, and investment in agriculture was essential to ensure food security.  He also pressed for progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment and favoured more emphasis on education and health.  Environmental sustainability with stronger political commitment and action should also be pursued, he said.  In addition, mutually reinforcing relations among the notions of democracy, development and security should be acknowledged.

CHOUMMALY SAYASONE, President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said progress had been made over the past 10 years in implementing the Goals at the global level.  At the country level, however, the wide gap in implementation among countries had grown due to crises created by global climate change and economic turmoil.  With five years left to achieve the Goals, the Summit should focus on the best practices and lessons learned so that countries could adopt concrete measures to accelerate implementation and achieve the Goals.

He said that his country had adopted a National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy in 2003, which had been streamlined into a National Social-Economic Development Plan for 2006-2010.  Those strategies had laid a strong foundation for making progress towards achieving the Goals.  The annual economic growth rate, for example, was expected to increase to 7 per cent in the 2006-2010 period over the 6.2 per cent of the previous five-year period.  That would reduce poverty to 26 per cent in 2009 from the 48 per cent recorded in 1990.  Social and cultural improvements had been made in education, reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates, and in raising the status of women.

To achieve the Goals, he urged intensified mobilization of resources from both internal and external sources to advance key sectors.  Those included the development of human resource capacity, the improvement of education, and the development of infrastructure, particularly in areas related to transportation and communication linkages.

BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, President of Malawi, applauded African Governments for their “heroic efforts” to meet the Millennium Goals by 2015.  Malawi, for its part, was confident about meeting all eight Millennium Goals in varying degrees, as it had fully embraced the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy.  That strategy focused on nine priority areas:  agriculture and food security; green belt irrigation and water development; transport and infrastructure development; education, science and technology; energy, mining and industrial development; integrated rural development; climate change, natural resources and environmental management; youth development and empowerment; and public health, sanitation and HIV/AIDS management.

Of the Millennium Goals, those related to universal primary education, reducing gender inequality and reducing maternal mortality required more concerted efforts to achieve.  The remaining five Goals would definitely be achieved, he said.  With regard to universal primary education, his Government had undertaken several efforts, including expanding teacher training colleges, constructing more classrooms and scaling up school feeding programmes.  Turning to maternal health, he noted that, in order to reduce the number of deaths per live births, Malawi was constructing and upgrading health facilities.  Those efforts were aimed to offer essential health services, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

Considerable progress had been achieved in the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Women currently held more high positions within the country.  Further, his country was taking affirmative action to increase women in decision-making positions in both the public and private sectors.  Through such measures, Malawi’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Goals could be seen.  Speaking for Africa as a whole, he urged for the United Nations to review supply side issues.  Such a review would assist in improving access to services for ordinary people, especially women and children, as envisioned within the Goals.  “We need teaching and learning materials, we need school feeding programmes, we need extensive immunization.  These need to be produced to push the [Millennium Goal] agenda.”

GURBANGULY BERDIMUHAMEDOV, President of Turkmenistan, stated that the country remained committed to neutrality.  Issues of economic cooperation were of particular importance for Turkmenistan, and a strategic priority for it in that regard was diversification of energy routes and provision of a new, multi-operational pipeline infrastructure.  Highlighting several projects and initiatives, he pointed to the recent construction of Turkmenistan-China and Turkmenistan-Iran pipelines and active work under way on implementing a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, convinced that it would benefit all parties involved.  Currently, issues of equal, uninterrupted and secure access to energy sources and means of their transportation had assumed global importance.  In that connection, Turkmenistan intended to initiate a General Assembly resolution to create an expert group, under United Nations auspices, that would develop an international mechanism for stable energy supply.

Since the world community understood that the problem of a globally secure and reliable transit of energy carriers required multilateral discussion, he suggested the possible creation of a United Nations energy council to provide a political format and organizational conditions for a systematic discussion of the range of energy-related problems.  He called on Member States to formulate their suggestions in light of that initiative.  He enlisted the aid of the United Nations, particularly the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to develop transport and communication infrastructure in Central Asia and the Caspian basin, ensuring effective cooperation and investment flow in north-south and east-west directions.

As the pivotal component of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the region was solving the serious ecological problems, namely, saving the Aral Sea and rehabilitating the unique natural resources of the Caspian Sea, he encouraged the establishment of a regional office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as the creation of a special international expert group to prepare an international legal document to save the Aral Sea.

BORIS TADIĆ, President of Serbia, stated that significant, if uneven, progress had been made despite the financial and economic crisis, volatile energy and food prices, and climate change and the loss of biodiversity.  He was confident that Serbia, which has made poverty reduction an integral part of its efforts to join the European Union, would meet all eight Goals by 2015.  Measures had been taken to ensure that the prices of basic food items could never again be manipulated by speculators; emphasis was also being put on equality of opportunity, gender equality and empowerment of women and minorities.  Significant investments in health care and education had begun to pay off.

He said that integral to Serbia’s efforts had been environmental sustainability through innovative financing at the national and regional levels.  A good example of that was the Belgrade Initiative for Enhancing Sub-Regional Cooperation in the Field of Climate Change through Research and Systemic Observation, Education, Training, Public Awareness and Capacity-Building.  Covering the costs had become more difficult, however, and the solution to that problem could lay in a decentralized system of environmental financing, as well as in finding ways to upgrade environmental infrastructure and monitoring systems.  The only efficient way for humankind to address the numerous challenges of modern civilization is through the investment of each and every country in science, innovation and education, in synergy with politics and the economy.

MOMPATI MERAFHE, Vice-President of Botswana, said the enthusiasm shown during the 2005 Millennium Development Goals review had not translated into the desired results.  Many developing countries still lagged behind in most targets.  It was necessary to do everything possible to fulfil pledges made and to eradicate poverty.  Botswana’s President had set a road map to prosperity for all, which was underpinned by the quest for human development and dignity.  Botswana’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals was amplified in the 2010-2016 National Development Plan.  Botswana had made some progress towards erasing poverty, which had fallen from 47 per cent in 1993 to 23 per cent in 2009.  But no level of poverty was tolerable, he said, stressing the need to give old age pensioners, destitute people, orphans, and homebound people access to food, education and subsistence allowance.  Recognizing that the fight against poverty must be sustained, Botswana’s Government adopted a broad-based growth programme aimed at creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods by investing in and strengthening institutions.

Botswana continued to commit significant resources to literacy and skills developments, he said.  It had achieved near-universal primary education, with more than 95 per cent of children aged 7 to 13 enrolled in primary school.  It had also made strides in health care.  The percentage of mothers attended to by trained health professionals had remained at about 98 per cent since 1998.  He noted significant progress in stemming the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  In 2005, 62 per cent of people with HIV received treatment; today more than 90 per cent received antiretroviral therapy.  But, Botswana continued to face challenges in maternal and infant mortality.  Water was a scarce commodity in Botswana, but the Government had been able to provide potable water to more than 95 per cent of the population since 2000.

One of the greatest global challenges was climate change, he said.  Its impact was being felt worldwide.  Left unattended, it would continue to impede development and poverty eradication.  To respond to it, Botswana had set up a National Climate Change Committee to oversee national policies on climate change and implementation of activities related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  At the 2000 World Summit, leaders pledged to strengthen the United Nations in order to enhance its authority and efficiency.  The Organization should be given the necessary support to respond to development challenges.  More support was needed for small island developing States, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries.  On their own, they lacked the capacity to mitigate development challenges.  He supported an action-oriented outcome at the end of the high-level Millennium Development Goals meeting.

JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA, President of Timor-Leste, said that, while many countries had been guided by the Millennium Development Goals to improve social and economic conditions, fragile and post-conflict nations had been less fortunate.  The unique challenges they faced had not been included in the Goals.  “I am here to inform you that despite our combined efforts, we must be realistic now, here, today, that fragile and post conflict affected states are the farthest away from meeting the MDGS and they most likely will not be met under the time frame the architects intended,” he said, speaking as a representative of the G7+, a group of fragile post-conflict States that advocated a new paradigm as a means of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by placing peacebuilding and state-building at the forefront of international engagement.

He said his country had adopted a reformist agenda that tailored to the diverse historical, linguistic, geographic, political and cultural landscapes.  Imported ideas had been substituted with home-grown ones.  International expertise had been contextualized with local innovation and domestic knowledge.   The nation had implemented key peacebuilding and state-building functions.  For the first time, it had adopted socially compassionate policies, pensions for the elderly, disabled and veterans, and had returned some 150,000 internally displaced persons to their homes.  “Above all, dialogue replaced discord,” he said, adding that incredible progress had been made.

He noted that, between 1999 and 2007, some $8 billion had been allocated by the international community, but that during the period poverty had increased.  Since 2007, his Government had reversed that trend by making public spending a cornerstone to ease suffering, spur economic growth and consolidate a newfound level of stability.  Now, averaging three years of consistent double-digit economic growth, Timor-Leste had been cited as one of the top 10 fastest growing economies.  Non-oil per capita income had increased from $398 in 2007 to $599 in 2009.  The Millennium Development Goals targets for infant mortality and under-five mortality had been reached.  School enrolment had increased to 83 per cent.  By 2015 some Goals would have been met and most could be met if there was a change in the way aid was delivered.  “We must trust in the practices and principles of the Paris declaration and the Accra Agenda, with ownership and harmonization at the forefront first by the principles of peacebuilding and state-building […],” he said.  “We must now make the collective decision to move from fragility to agility, and do this with the same vigour and effort that the MDGs were originally asserted.”

NGUYEN MINH TRIET, President of Viet Nam, said his country had achieved some Goals ahead of schedule and was on track to attaining the remaining ones on time.  The strategy was to localize the Goals and mainstream them into development policies and programmes at all levels.  Promoting participation was key, as was overall reform and international support.  Nevertheless, Viet Nam was still underdeveloped, and living standards remained low, particularly in remote communities and those devastated by war and by agent orange/dioxin.  Furthermore, implementation of the Goals in the 10 years since their adoption had been hampered by global conditions, including unilateralism and use of force, tensions in parts to the world, the recent global economic crisis, volatility in energy and food security and, finally, the impacts of climate change.

In addition to supporting the solutions and measures as defined in the action agenda to be adopted during the current meeting, he said three points warranted emphasis.  First, peace and security were prerequisites for development and, therefore, it was a common responsibility to support actions favouring the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Second, cooperation must continue to expand to creating favourable international conditions to assist developing countries in policymaking and strengthening management capacity.  Among others, developed countries must deliver on their obligations and commitments, including in maintaining macroeconomic stability, successfully completing the Doha trade round and eliminating unfair trade measures.

Finally, he said the current meeting should be followed up with early development of international and national implementation programmes to sustain progress and even strive for higher goals.  Based on the experience of the past 10 years, a new opportunity was now present for a full recognition of the importance of multilateral cooperation, with the United Nations at its centre.

HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, President of Namibia, noted with concern the uneven progress of some countries in achieving the Millennium Goals, as well as unresolved challenges.  Namibia, recognizing at the outset how daunting achieving the Goals would be, integrated the task into its national development programmes and policies.  National targets and indicators were also created to monitor progress made.  His country had recorded progress in many areas, despite the onset of global crises, natural disasters, and the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  However, progress was less robust with regard to sanitation in rural areas.

Namibia’s Government placed high importance on providing education and training to its people.  The largest percentage of the national budget had been consistently allocated into the education sector over the years.  It was on course to achieving universal primary education.  Turning to gender parity, he happily noted that his country had exceeded the target with regard to enrolment ratios for girls’ to boys’ schools.  While progress in reducing the infant mortality rate had been slow, progress had been made in maternal mortality.  Complications from HIV/AIDS had become the main cause of death in Namibia.  However, a significant decline in the number of new infections was the result of ongoing country-wide public awareness campaigns.

Malaria had been contained through the distribution of free insecticide-treated mosquito nets.  Furthermore, treatment and awareness campaigns had lead to recorded progress in treating tuberculosis cases, especially from 1996 to 2006.  Despite efforts and progress made, Namibia faced declining international development assistance.  This was due to the country’s classification as a middle-income country, he noted.  In that regard, he appealed to Bretton Woods and other international financial institutions to create special mechanisms to enable middle income countries to access financial resources for development on concessional terms.  Highlighting the need to strengthen the global partnership for development, he urged development cooperation partners to honour their obligations.

Prince Albert II of Monaco, recalling the world’s commitment in 2000 towards a new era and to spare no effort to combat poverty, asked how could it be that women still died today in labour due to a lack of care and that children still died of hunger.  Peace and security in the world would only be attained if sustainable development was guaranteed for all.  Five years before the deadline for achieving the millennium targets, it was time to seize the opportunity to attain them.  Achievement of the targets in primary education and the fight against HIV/AIDS was still feasible.  The international community should redouble its efforts and reaffirm the fundamental values of liberty, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility.  For its part, Monaco was committed to international development cooperation policy.  Its ODA would meet the target of 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2015.

He said that Monaco’s aid had increased fivefold since 2000 and by 25 per cent annually.  It was provided purely in the form of grants and targeted towards partner countries, mainly least developed countries, in areas of health, education, the environment and microeconomics.  Poverty was unacceptable.  Today, one child in four in the developing world was underweight, and almost 1 billion people lacked daily access to water.  He called on the international community to seize the opportunity at this crucial stage to equip itself with the means to reach the global commitments.  Monaco would continue to mobilize emergency aid to address natural disasters and climate change.

The new millennium had awakened new hopes, which had been partially dashed by threats to mankind and the environment, he said.  During the forthcoming meeting on biodiversity, the international community must recall the importance of preserving a sustainable way of life.  He pledged his personal commitment to devising innovative and ethical solutions to biodiversity and water management concerns.  It was necessary to complete the groundwork for “ Rio + 20”.  The millennium targets would only be attained if they were sustainable.  Everyone must be involved and associated with the decisions.  That was the focus of the “G-3”, with which Monaco was associated.  Each speaker today was convinced of the urgency to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Now was the time for action.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, President of Georgia, noted that there had been significant changes in how best to approach the achievement of the Millennium Goals since 2005.  Of those changes, a focus on innovative financial mechanisms and local ownership were of the utmost importance.  Money was, of course, needed to achieve the Goals; however, “aid money will not deliver concrete results unless due attention is paid to local ownership”.  He highlighted several examples of how aid funds given to local officials were misused and not distributed to the people.  With that in mind, it was clear that corruption was synonymous with local ownership in some countries.  Thus, the real aim of local ownership should be to encourage and reinforce responsible governance.

He said that the local ownership issue had seemingly become a “chicken and the egg” dilemma, which demanded clear vision and dedication.  Georgia’s own experience had underscored the need for capacity-building and efforts to combat corruption.  Defeating corruption might not be an official Millennium Development Goal, but it was a prerequisite for any meaningful progress.  Georgia had previously been a failed State, overcome by systemic corruption.  Billions of dollars in aid had amounted to almost nothing, as funds were often allocated based on bribes rather than merit.  However, the country’s 2003 Rose Revolution had successfully “changed the playing field”, helping Georgia to confront its corruption issues.

In the years that followed, his country had made progress towards achieving the Millennium Goals.  Georgia had experienced rapid economic development and job creation.  Poverty rates had dropped drastically, from 42 per cent in 2003 to less than 18 per cent so far in 2010.  Extreme poverty rates had declined from 18 per cent to 6 per cent within the same time period.  Such progress was “an invitation to continue our work”, he said.  Georgia’s current success would not have been possible without the Millennium Goals and the path towards achieving them.  With the Goals in place, it was easier to form global partnerships.  When corruption destroyed a nation, people worried about their survival, with little time to dream of a better future.  Speaking on their behalf, he emphasized the importance of combating corruption through the next five years and beyond.

AHMED ABDALLAH SAMBI, President of the Comoros, said collective and national efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals had led to some progress, but many problems remained and some had even been exacerbated.  The Comoros had achieved remarkable success in some of the millennium targets despite its difficult socio-economic situation, especially the lack of resources and investment budget.  There were still great delays in achieving the targets related to primary education and health care for children.  Primary school enrolment rates, however, had risen from 63 per cent to 72 per cent between 1991 and 2008, and primary school graduation rates had increased from 41 per cent to 57 per cent over the same period.  The infant mortality rate had dropped from 130 per 1,000 live births to 66 per 1,000 live births between 1991 and 2007.  The mortality rate for children less than 1 year old had declined from 86 per 1,000 live births to 49 per 1,000 live births over the same period.

He said his country had great hope of achieving the targets with minimum support from partners, but it would be very difficult to achieve the employment and environment targets.  Poor implementation was exacerbated by the lack of financing and institutional capacity.  Turning to climate change, he stressed the need for viable plans to save the world, particularly for the small island developing States, which were at risk for being submerged due to rising sea level.  By 2025, sea level rise in the Comoros could displace a large part of the population and destroy some economic infrastructure.  According to 2003 forecasts, the availability of water per inhabitant would drop, as 63 of the nation’s 175 rivers were expected to dry up.  In the last 30 years, annual temperature had risen 1° Celsius on average, leading to adverse consequences for socio-economic development, as well as to an increase in malaria and other infectious diseases.

That situation had also had a potentially dramatic impact on security and tourism, the country’s leading economic engines, he said.  The Comoros had enormous potential in hydroelectric, solar, wind energy and geothermal resources.  Financial and technical aid would help improve their development and the country’s socioeconomic well-being.  The poor track record towards achieving the millennium targets stemmed largely from inadequate financing for development.  The poorest and most vulnerable countries had limited access to development aid, and the Comoros had limited domestic resources.  Programmes to expedite achievement of the Millennium Goals, therefore, seemed “surreal”.  However, the Comoros was prioritizing an ambitious plan of action to achieve them.

GJORGE IVANOV, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said the world was slowly coming out of the global economic crisis.  The progress in the eradication of extreme poverty was slow, and conflicts, food insecurity and an increase in inequality between countries and regions were other challenges being faced, as well as the rapid increase in the number and intensity of natural and man-caused disasters.  Immediate actions should, therefore, be taken, with the necessary and strong political will.  The south-east European region had made tangible progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals during a period in which it was recovering from traumatic events.  Guided by the idea of a common future in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with fresh memories of dark period of conflict, the region had begun to move towards prosperous regional cooperation.

He said that his country had made progress in areas such as reducing health risks, expanding education and improving the environment.  Little progress had been made in the areas of poverty and development partnership, partially because of action taken by one European Union and NATO member State.  His country was hindered in economic development by its immediate neighbour because of the name of his country.  Fifteen years after the first trade embargo from Greece, it was facing a new blockade.  Although Greece was one of the biggest investors in his country, the blockades in the integration process indirectly blocked attracting other investors and investments.  He believed, however, that soon a solution with his neighbour would be found that would ensure the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic future.

He said that his country remained committed to reducing poverty and social exclusion with a national strategy for social inclusion.  Special attention in that regard was dedicated to the Roma community through the “2005-2015 Roma Inclusion Decade”.  The Roma population had its own local self-government, schools, media and everything that constituted the normal life of a community.  The Roma had representatives in Parliament, Government and in all State administration mechanisms.  Also, his Government believed the key to individual success and social progress lay in comprehensive education.  Therefore, both primary and secondary school were mandatory and investments in education were increased each day.

JENS STOLTENBERG, Prime Minister of Norway, said that 10 years ago, world leaders had made concrete commitments to reduce poverty and to provide access to education, health and other basic services.  There were five years left to make good on those promises.  Progress had been made, but it was still lagging.  The task was made even more challenging by the global financial crisis, climate change and the international food crisis.  Moreover, many countries had defaulted on their promises.  More than 1 per cent of Norway’s gross national income had been allocated to development assistance, and the country was committed to retaining that level.

He called on developing countries to mobilize more of their domestic resources by broadening their tax base, fighting corruption and increasing transparency, and improving accountability.  Illicit financial flows from developing countries were estimated to be more than six times the total annual development assistance.  That drain on vital resources for development must be stopped.  Norway had taken on special responsibility for the goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, as those were lagging behind the most.  They were within reach, however, if the world made an extra effort.  That was why Norway had tripled its aid for global health over the past 10 years.

Norway had worked with a network of global leaders to develop effective policies for maternal and child health, he said, urging partner countries to do their part.  To access new and additional resources, they must develop their own health systems and deliver basic services to their own citizens.  He called on all leaders to support the Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, with concrete political and financial commitments.  The Millennium Development Goals could not be seen in isolation from climate change, armed conflict and women’s empowerment.  The poorest countries and peoples, who had contributed least to climate change, would suffer most.  Regions affected by armed conflict had made the least progress.  The single most important catalyst for change was women’s empowerment. “We must honour our solemn promises made 10 years ago here in New York,” he concluded.

TUILA’EPA SAILELE MALIELEGAOI, Prime Minister of Samoa, opened by saying that the Millennium Declaration was a collective reaffirmation that all people deserved to live in dignity and freedom from the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.  The Millennium Development Goals represented a vision of concrete, measurable achievement.  The Goals had been at the top of the development agenda for a decade; the level of achievement varied among countries, and it would be a mistake at this time to be defensive or assign blame for failures if some of the countries were not on track to meeting the targets.

Stressing that postponing those targets should not be an option, he declared that the next five years were vital.  Samoa was committed to achieving the Goals by 2015.  The Goals, by their very nature, were a restatement of his own people’s development needs and hopes.  From this point forward, Samoa needed to work hard to maintain gains and improve performance.  Among those was reducing the proportion of the population living below the basic needs poverty line and ensuring expanded coverage, including to promote children’s health.  Additionally, greater emphasis would be given to strengthening a rights-based approach to facilitate women’s universal access to reproductive health services.

The global recession and other natural and man-made crises constrained the efforts to achieve the Goals, despite political will, he said.  The aftermath of the tsunami in Samoa had also affected related efforts.  However, support from the international community ensured that recovery was back on track.  He noted that the United Nations would review the Mauritius Strategy, which provided a comprehensive blueprint to address the national and regional sustainable development of small island developing States.  He warned that isolation of those nations remained an impediment to the growth of their economies.  Overcoming their remoteness would enhance the islands’ resilience to the many challenges.

YVES LETERME, Prime Minister of Belgium, outlined four messages pertaining to human development and poverty eradication, stating that it was not just a matter of economic growth, but of “putting people at the centre of development”.  Poverty was much more than a lack of income and material wealth.  It also related to social and cultural exclusion and denial of fundamental rights.  Putting people at the centre of development was giving access to education and culture.  His second message was an alarm signal:  a major stumbling block on the road towards achieving the Millennium Goals was growing inequality, between countries and within countries themselves.  A country might progress globally while some population groups, such as the underprivileged, women, and rural populations — were worse off in relative, and even in absolute, terms.  Indeed, gender disparities were at the very heart of the inequality issue, and tackling inequalities was “the priority amongst priorities”, he said.

The third message, he said, was that concrete progress in the field of the Millennium Goals was not only a matter of financial means, but also a matter, first and foremost, of political will and good governance, nationally.  His fourth message was one of collective responsibility and of the global partnership called for in the Millennium Declaration.  The logic of global partnership had led most donor countries to commit themselves to 0.7 per cent ODA, a target which his Government had reconfirmed in its 2010 budget.  Belgium was also working hard to raise awareness on forging consensus on innovative financing, not only within the European Union, but worldwide.  But more importantly, aid policies should help to make countries less dependent on aid.

KLAUS TSCHÜTSCHER, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, welcomed agreement on the outcome document as an important reaffirmation of the international consensus in the field of development.  Unfortunately, however, some crucial priority challenges had not received the requisite attention in the text.  Violence and armed conflict, for example, threatened human security and the rule of law, and must be prevented and ended as the core part of every sustainable development effort.  That required, in particular, determined action to eradicate impunity for those who used violence against civilians as a tactic of war.

He said that, because development achievements remained fragile if not supported by serious efforts to strengthen good governance, the rule of law, human rights, gender equality, and an active civil society, Liechtenstein offered support by prioritizing education projects in its bilateral development assistance, with a particular emphasis on projects empowering women.  His Government was also keenly aware of the illicit capital outflows from developing countries, and supported initiatives that fought corruption and money-laundering.

Liechtenstein’s ODA represented 0.6 per cent of the country’s GNI, and the Government recognized the development goal of 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI, he said.  Liechtenstein was particularly committed to addressing new development challenges in connection with climate change, having already set aside the first round of new and additional funds to help developing countries address that challenge.

SHEIKH HASINA, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, said that the Millennium Development Goals had been adopted by an unprecedented consensus and had given a benchmark to measure performance of national Governments, private sectors, civil society, development partners and intergovernmental bodies.  Her country’s planning and budgeting process since 2001 had sought to achieve the Millennium Goals as part of the national development plans.  Bangladesh had devised a five-year plan to achieve the targets as a step towards making itself a middle-income country by 2021, the Golden Jubilee Year of its independence.  Despite the global recession, decline in world trade and the impact of climate change, her country had been able to achieve satisfactory progress, including in poverty alleviation, primary education, gender equality and reducing child mortality.

She said that achievement of other Goals were facing difficulties for lack of resources, including maternal mortality, income inequality, enrolment in primary education, improving immunization and improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation.  A formidable challenge was the natural disasters, due to global warming, which were pushing “climate migrants” into the overburdened cities.  A 1-metre rise in sea level would submerge a quarter of Bangladesh’s land mass, displacing 30 million people, and 1 in 7 persons would be a “climate migrant”.  She urged the global community to be sensitive to that emerging challenge and to find innovative ways to prevent it and rehabilitate its victims.

The Millennium Development Goals were achievable when nationally owned development strategies, policies and programmes were supported by international development partners, she said.  The developed world should demonstrate its sincerity by helping to reduce the implementation gap.  Clearly, the answer was fulfilling the ODA commitment of 0.7 per cent of GDP.  Some $22.1 billion was required to attain all the Millennium Goals in Bangladesh.  The global recession, the food and fuel crisis, and the challenges of climate change and natural disasters had complicated the road to 2015.  “But they do not make the MDGs unattainable if we collectively determine and partner to achieve them.  Let us rise and resolve in that spirit as one community in a globalized world to achieve all our internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, thereby serving ourselves, our progeny and posterity.”

MIZENGO PINDA, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, said much remained to be done to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, but the world could not afford to be discouraged.  Today was an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to ensure that all Goals were met everywhere by 2015.  He lauded the United Nations strategy on women’s and children’s health and the Secretary-General’s leadership in developing it.  Bilateral and regional partnerships were at the core of successes achieved and they would determine future successes.  The United Republic of Tanzania had reaffirmed its commitment to achieve the Millennium Goals by enacting economic and governance reforms, which had spurred growth averaging 7 per cent during the last decade.  But that was not enough to achieve the Goals.

He said that the number of people living on less than $1 per day had dropped from 38.6 per cent in 1991 to 33.6 per cent in 2007 for mainland Tanzania and from 61 per cent in 1990 to 49 per cent in 2004 for Zanzibar.  More than 80 per cent of the population lived in rural areas and was dependent on agriculture for its livelihood.  Investments in agriculture were essential to emancipate most Tanzanians from poverty.  The Government’s “Agriculture First” initiative aimed to accelerate the green revolution by, among other things, training agriculture extension officers, investing in irrigation infrastructure and using modern technology and improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides.  It aimed to address the critical problem of agricultural financing.  He appealed to the international community to support those efforts.

Given timely and predictable support, the United Republic of Tanzania would achieve the first millennium target, he said.  HIV prevalence had dropped from 7 per cent in 2003 to 5.7 per cent in 2008 in mainland Tanzania.  The Zanzibar rate had remained at 0.6 per cent.  In Zanzibar, malaria rates had dropped from 49.2 per cent in 2000 to 0.8 per cent in 2009 due to key cost-effective prevention.  But there was little progress in child mortality.  The country had done well in primary education, thanks to good policies, budgetary increases and comprehensive education programmes.  It was also on track to meet the target of full school enrolment by 2015, and it was committed to doing everything possible to implement the remaining Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  But to succeed, it counted on renewed and expanded commitment from its development partners.

GILBERT FOSSOUN HOUNGBO, Prime Minister of Togo, opened by saying that the Millennium Development Goals were valid for all those involved in development, and he noted that all efforts should be on achieving results.  With respect to Togo, since 2006 it had been calm politically, and thus, it was time to re-launch the process of a long-term development strategy, which was a foundation for crafting the poverty reduction strategy paper.

He said his country had taken measures to improve many things, including governance, rule of law, management of public finance and mobilization of domestic finances.  In addition, Togo facilitated access for farmers to fertilizers and seeds, and had better organized agricultural producers.  Those measures explained the surplus production and economic growth, albeit modest.  In fact, he was certain the growing contribution of small farmers beyond the level of food security would be a key lever of economic growth, as it was at least 7 per cent.

The acceleration of achieving the Millennium Goals, however, entailed $225 million in financing, which would help wealth creation and poverty reduction in rural areas.  He noted improvements in education, and said that free primary education had enabled enrolment increases from 74 per cent 2006 to 87 per cent in 2008.  However, one could not focus only on primary education, as it was also necessary to invest in secondary and superior education, especially research.  In terms of health, HIV prevalence had been halved, and care for affected persons had improved.  In terms of infant health care, he noted that vaccinations and mosquito nets had reduced infant mortality rates.

GERVAIS RUFYIKIRI, Second Vice-President of Burundi, said it was possible for Burundi to achieve some of the Millennium Goal targets.  Burundi was in a post-conflict situation and had gone through serious socio-political crises which had had a negative impact on development.  The decades-old civil war had ended in 2005 and the Government had since tried to make up for lost time in achieving the Goals.  Some area had seen great improvement.  Burundi was set to achieve Goal 2 on the provision of free primary education, as some 90 per cent of the country’s children were now enrolled in primary school.  Progress had been also been made regarding gender equality in primary and secondary education.

As for representation of women in decision-making, he said they accounted for 32 per cent in the National Assembly and for 44 per cent in the Senate.  Further, the goal regarding the prevalence of malaria and tuberculosis could be achieved be by 2015.  Goal 7, on safe access to drinking water, could probably also be achieved.  As for Goal 1, on poverty eradication, programmes had been made in strengthening dialogue with Burundi’s partners.  He said that national development strategies had been approved, and last year, Burundi had achieved the requirements for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative.

There were problems, however, with achieving the targets for poverty alleviation, hunger reduction, safe housing, preservation of biodiversity and reduction in the spread of HIV/AIDS.  He said efforts to achieve those targets should be given sufficient resources by the international community.  Among strategies planned was the commitment of the Government to provide strategies for growth and poverty reduction. 

GEORGES REBELO CHIKOTI, Secretary of State for External Relations of Angola, declared: “The fight against poverty cannot be won only with the holding of conferences and summits to negotiate more commitments to development.”  Overcoming hunger and poverty required primarily implementing commitments already made.  The international community must ensure that those promises were translated into concrete actions.  Eradicating extreme poverty, the big challenge of the day, required Governments, civil society and the private sector join forces as part of a more effective partnership for development.  It was also important to include the Millennium Development Goals in national strategies for poverty reduction and national development plans.

He said that some international mechanisms already agreed upon that had been applied inconsistently or simply ignored included increasing ODA; reform of the international financial architecture; deregulating international trade; increasing investments in agriculture in Africa; creation of an integrated microcredit programme; and the global partnership for development.  All countries, collectively and individually, should feel obliged to fight tenaciously to achieve the Millennium Goals, especially in African countries where the situation was particularly difficult.  “We are convinced that Africa has potential and, once supported by the international community, it will be able to overcome challenges in order to enable the economic growth and sustainable development of the continent.”

Shortly after the end of the war in 2002, Angola had started a broad national reconstruction and poverty reduction programme, he said.  His country had seen improvement in all basic indicators of the Goals.  More than 2 million children had been enrolled in primary education since 2002.  He hoped that infection rates of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis could drastically reduce the causes of death in women and children by 2015.  In order to eradicate hunger and poverty, Angola had adopted the National Strategy for Food Security, a mechanism that would increase agricultural production in a sustainable manner.  Fighting hunger and poverty would allow for ensuring respect for human rights while providing adequate living conditions for all citizens.

GEORGE PAPANDREOU, Prime Minister of Greece, said that his country had launched radical reforms to make the Government more transparent, its institutions more efficient and its economy more competitive.  The Government was delivering those changes with the citizens, not in spite of them.  They could, however, not do that alone; in an interdependent world, they all needed to work together.  That also meant working more closely with social partners, non-governmental organizations and the private sector in order to deliver change.

Around the world, he said, many citizens felt disempowered.  They knew that the resources existed to make poverty history, to wipe out illiteracy, to prevent pandemics, and to protect women and children, but resources and capabilities were not being managed to do so.  That was why citizens questioned the political will of the international community to move forward as a global community.  They expected political leaders to do more to correct the imbalances that the current global governance had created.  Indeed, underlying the failure to act on the good intentions of the world leaders was a crisis of governance.  National institutions lacked the capability to deal with global issues.  The concentration of power, capital and media enabled the privileged with vested interests to “capture” the democratic processes.

He urged leaders to step up to the challenge to reform democratic institutions with greater urgency and resolve.  They should prove that democracies could empower citizens, and equalize opportunities so that the benefits of globalization could be fairly and evenly distributed.  New tools were needed to optimize the use of resources and change financial incentives.  A financial transaction tax, carbon tax or green bonds could be used to fund education, health care, green infrastructure and technology in developing countries.  Instead of national austerity, the international community should be thinking in terms of global responsibility.  Unless forces were joined to face the challenges ahead, the world would remain vulnerable to new crises.

REEM IBRAHIM AL HASHIMI, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, opened by stating a firm commitment to the Millennium Declaration, and said that such commitment was a main factor in the maintenance of peace and security in the world and the way to the realization of prosperity and stability to the people of all countries.  The economic, financial and security conditions during the last few years demonstrated how interlinked the interests of countries of the world were.  No country was safe from the impact of the economic crises.  The United Arab Emirates strongly believed that success in achieving the Millennium Goals required an effective global partnership within the framework of the recommendations of the Millennium Declaration and other development-focused conferences.

He recognized that the global economic crisis had led to the recession in developed donor countries, but urged those countries not to withdraw their commitments and keep working towards achieving the 0.7 per cent of GDP as ODA for the developing countries.  He emphasized the importance of reforming the international economic, financial and trade systems, which would allow developing countries the ability to participate in the international market equitably.

The United Arab Emirates had succeeded in containing the aftermath of the economic crisis so as not to impact achievements in the development process and fall back on commitments to foreign aid.  He said his country exploited oil revenue to expand and diversify sources of national income and focus on human development, and to achieve total eradication of poverty, raise income per capita to the highest levels in the world and achieve gender equality.  His country believed in the high value of human life and in the importance of protecting and developing it and providing a dignified source of living for human beings, wherever they are.  The United Arab Emirates had thus adopted a foreign policy focused on cooperation and bilateral and international partnerships to achieve development in other countries.  The United Arab Emirates Partnership in the Pacific programme had been launched in February 2010 with the initial capital of $50 million, solely dedicated to funding initiatives focused on Pacific island nations.

ELMAR MAMMADYAROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, reiterated his country’s strong commitment to effectively implement the Millennium Goals by 2015.  Despite continued military occupation of nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia, and the presence of about 1 million refugees and forcibly displaced persons, his country had experienced unprecedented economic growth in the past five years.  On average, its economy had grown at a 20 per cent annualized pace.  Available financial resources had provided ample opportunities to fund policy measures aimed at poverty reduction and the achievement of other Millennium Goals.  The Government’s primary goal was to spend available funds in the most efficient and transparent manner.

With regard to poverty reduction, he said Azerbaijan had demonstrated political will, launching a new state programme for poverty reduction and sustainable development for the period 2008 to 2015.  Through the programme, his Government aimed to ensure sustainable economic development, significantly decrease poverty rates and protect vulnerable groups, among other things.  Actions taken by his Government to improve the quality of school education included an education reform strategy supported by the World Bank.  It was focused on reforming general compulsory education.  Consistent measures for women had laid a firm legal and institutional foundation for the achievement of gender equality.

Sustainable progress with regard to reducing child and maternal mortality depended on a reduction in income poverty, as well as further improvements in the access and quality of health services, he said.  Additional efforts were required to reduce the maternal mortality rate.  Full realization of that goal required “due” financial resources and technical assistance, and donor countries had a responsibility to cooperate with and assist developing and least developed countries in that respect.  Azerbaijan, determined to foster global cooperation in all spheres, had successfully launched several infrastructure projects which contributed to the development of neighbouring countries.  Its Government had advanced an initiative to jointly build and manage the Trans-Eurasian information superhighway.  The scheme should facilitate supplying countries in the region with Internet, telecommunications systems, e-information resources and e-economies.

RICARDO PATINO AROCA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, External Commerce and Integration of Ecuador, said that, three years ago, the President of Ecuador had asked the country to go beyond the Millennium Goals in order to overcome inequalities.  Such a policy could lead to a dignified life for all, beyond social well-being.  Renewed prominence of collective action must be restored.  Access to justice and respect for all rights should be guaranteed.  That was also the path to peace.

He said his country was concerned that social issues were not given the central importance needed in the attainment of the Millennium Goals, but that military expenditure had been growing, and had increased by 49 per cent since 2000.  That was standing in the way of achieving the Goals.  He encouraged the international community to show the political will to reverse that trend.  A more human face was needed, otherwise wars would continue, with hundreds of millions people going hungry and threatened by climate change.

Ecuador had improved the quality of life for its people, he said.  It had reduced poverty from 61 per cent to 53 per cent in rural areas over the last three years and had doubled its social investments.  The country was on track to achieve the Goals.  Education had been made universal.  Teaching materials were provided in the indigenous languages.  Infant mortality had been reduced.  Maternal health had been improved through better infrastructures so that populations previously marginalized could be reached.  There were also policies in place for the conservation of the environment.  Still, not enough had been done.  Ecuador wanted to build a society with equity, which would only be possible if the global financial structures were rebuilt in a way that supported social development.

MURRAY MCCULLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs for New Zealand, drew attention to recent reports citing the South Pacific as second only to sub-Saharan Africa in terms of lack of progress in achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals.  He noted that many places in the South Pacific must deal with the additional challenges of climate change.

“But more money alone will not solve these problems,” he said.  A greater focus on aid effectiveness and donor coordination were needed.  On the latter point, New Zealand was a strong supporter of the Cairns Compact as a means to improve donor coordination in the region.  With regard to aid effectiveness, it would focus on sustainable economic development.  The country was undertaking a major programme of investment in renewable energy infrastructure, particularly solar and wind.  New Zealand shared the optimism of those who believed progress could be faster and better.  “But it will not be because we have established new committees, or new procedures,” he stated.  The essential challenge was to get more practical by focusing on outcomes, not processes.

OLDEMIRO MARQUES BALÓI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, highlighted the importance of the gathering, aimed at reviewing the progress and obstacles in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Ten years ago, when Mozambique had joined other nations in adopting the Millennium Declaration, and the country was aware of the challenges it faced to meet the targets.  Today, he focused discussion on Goals 4 and 5, on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, and said that investing in women’s and children’s health was an unequivocal way of investing in social and economic development, while meeting the remaining Goals.

He said that women’s and children’s health indicators showed some progress since the Goals’ adoption, which were reflected by the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates.  Those indicators showed the path that the country needed to take to meet the objectives for women’s and children’s health care.  The Government’s main focus was to ensure that women gave birth without the risk of death.  He highlighted some actions of particular importance in improving health care overall, which included recognizing the impact of social factors in community health; increasing access to clean water and basic sanitation; and implementing programmes that promoted girls’ school enrolment at the primary school level.  Since Mozambique’s independence, women and children had had free access to health care, which had led to a great reduction in maternal mortality.  There was also a network of community workers, which galvanized communities to adopt domestic practices for the prevention of diseases, among other things.

Although progress had been made, the current international context posed threats, due to climate change, the food and fuel crises, and more recently, the global financial crisis.  He hoped the outcome document of the current meeting would reflect the urgent need to reinvigorate engagement to implement the commitments made in Monterrey.  Indeed, he expected that the donor community would ensure sufficient financial support to developing countries.  Mozambique was firmly committed to strong social and macroeconomic policies, good governance and, in the long-term, less dependence on foreign aid.  He recommitted to placing women’s and children’s health care at the top of the development agenda.

URMAS PAET, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Estonia, recognized the Millennium Development Goals as the most significant promise ever made to reduce poverty and inequality worldwide, and stressed the importance of recognizing past mistakes in order to move forward.  While great strides had been made in reaching the Goals by 2015 — notably in the areas of poverty reduction, access to clean water, increased school enrolment, and impressive strides against infectious diseases — he called the global record “mixed”.  Significant progress was still needed in the areas of gender equality, unemployment, malnutrition and hunger.

Regarding gender equality, he said Estonia had launched bilateral projects in priority countries, for example, in Afghanistan, where it had focused on improving the health of women and girls, and the country would continue to advocate for the incorporation of a gender dimension into all United Nations activities.  For this purpose, his Government had already decided to make its first contribution to UN Women.  Further, Estonia remained committed to supporting the development of access to technologies, which had been a “crucial engine” of economic progress and modernization for the country over the last two decades.  In closing, he reiterated Estonia’s commitment to turning the Millennium Development Goals into the “Millennium Development Achievements”.

ALEXIS THAMBWE MWAMBA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that everyone should decide here and now that there was enough time to implement the Millennium Goals and show their international solidarity.  With sufficient financial resources, the Goals could be achieved.  Everyone was aware of the internal constraints to achieving the Goals, he said, pointing to obstacles such as the lack of quality data to guide decision-making and the gap between pledges and actual funding.

He said developing countries could achieve all the Goals provided they increased financing from the public sector and encouraged private business involvement.  His country was working to create an enabling environment and investment climate for the private sector.  It also sought to induce foreign direct investment through tax reform.  The country had made progress with regard to the Millennium Goals, especially with primary school education, political empowerment of women, improved immunization for children under age 5, and slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS.  More children were sleeping under mosquito nets.  Good governance had helped, but his country needed to improve the national statistic system, advance decentralization, accelerate land reform and protect the environment and its species and ecosystems.

However, he lamented, all those efforts would not suffice to achieve the Millennium Goals.  ODA must be increased, he urged, recalling the Monterrey Consensus and all other such previous commitments.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was a post-conflict country; in many cases there was no possibility of children to go to school.  Women were still systematically raped, and people were forced to abandon their farms and herds.  His country requested that it be placed in priority programmes for sustained support.  It was necessary to create jobs for youth.  He remained convinced that, with international support and good governance, it would be possible to achieve the goals to eradicate hunger and poverty.

HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq, said that, in general, he supported the outcome document to be adopted.  Some progress in attainment of the Millennium Development Goals had been made, but more than 1 billion people were still living in extreme poverty, five years away from 2015.  Absent greater progress, a fertile ground would be created for instability, terrorism and degradation of the environment.  Attainment of the Goals was only possible if there was a political will combined with sufficient resources and international cooperation.

He said the situation in Iraq had improved significantly.  Per capita income had increased, as had individual prosperity.  The 2010 budget had been designed, not only to support reconstruction, but also to build a healthy and strong economy.  The Government had launched a five-year development plan, which included $168 billion to improve the quality of services.  That plan would create around 4 million jobs.  In order to attain the Goals on health, the Iraqi policy was based on improving agricultural yields by providing subsidies to farmers.  That, in turn, would reduce hunger and improve nutrition, and reduce the level of infant mortality.  The education sector was being reformed, and there were awareness programmes that addressed girls’ early dropout rate from school and other social obstacles to their education.  Equality between men and women was now ensured by law.  Women made up 25 per cent of the membership of Parliament, the highest proportion in the region.  The number of hospitals, pharmacies and health centres for pregnant women and centres for epidemic diseases had been increased.

International cooperation was important for Iraq, he said.  It cooperated with the United Nations and its specialized agencies and programmes, especially in the area of reconstruction.  The economy was being integrated with that of the region.  Economic measures had been adopted and the country had met its commitments with respect to IMF.  Iraq had entered into agreements with international debtors regarding debts of the previous regime, and had reduced by 80 per cent its debts to the Paris Club.  He hoped other creditor States would also reduce the bilateral debt.  Development remained a national priority, which must be addressed by the leadership at the national and regional levels.  He hoped that Iraq’s plan would lead to a quality change in the country, which would in turn contribute to stability in the region.

ALVIN BERNARD, Minister of State of Dominica, said that the first five years of implementing the Millennium Goals had seen steady progress, but further progress had been stymied by the food crisis, the energy crisis and the global economic and financial crisis.  With only five years left, efforts must be intensified.  A good starting point in that regard was the fulfilment of the commitments made in the 2002 Monterrey Consensus.  That should also include the reconfiguration of the international financial institutions to take into account the special needs of developing countries.  Those efforts must complement the conclusion of the Doha development agenda.  The recognition of the special and differential status of developing countries, especially small island developing States, was critical to their survival in what had become “a hostile global trading environment”.  Another area requiring urgent attention was the contribution of ODA and technology transfer.

He said that despite many challenges, Dominica had been able to make major achievements in pursuit of the Millennium Goals through sound fiscal policy, strong political leaderships and hard work.  Developed countries, especially European Union countries, had been reliable partners.  There had also been unprecedented South-South cooperation with China, Cuba, Venezuela and Libya in the areas of social and physical infrastructure development.  Household poverty had dropped from 39 per cent in 2002 to 28.8 per cent in 2009.  Per capita income had risen from $11,430 in 2005 to $14,184 in 2009.  Universal secondary education had been achieved in 2005.  The Caribbean region had been heavily affected by HIV/AIDS.  Efforts by the regional Governments had been commendable.  Education and public awareness programmes had brought the issue to the fore.

Dominica had been dubbed the “nature island” of the Caribbean, due to the prudent environmental policies supported by legislation and established practices and traditions, he said.  However, the effects of climate change had made the country more vulnerable to natural disasters.  Over the past 10 years, the country had been vigorously pursuing the development of geothermal energy.  The first phase of that project had been completed.  He looked forward to the commercialization phase, when electricity could be generated for the domestic markets as well as for neighbouring markets.  The achievement of the Millennium Goals required global action, premised on strong global partnerships, with a central role for the United Nations.  Work on reform of the Organization, therefore, must be continued.  Small island developing States must be recognized as a special entity within the United Nations system.

ABUBAKR A. AL-QIRBI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen, opened by saying that 10 years ago, the world had gathered to establish a global partnership for development and had produced worthy commitments.  With less than five years to go, today’s high-level meeting was a way to highlight initiatives to serve as guidelines in countries and regions, and to reflect on shortcomings.  One of the main aims was to scale up global partnerships and address the remaining gaps.  It was incumbent upon all not to fall short because of a lack of resources.  Countries that were lagging behind, including in Africa, must be assisted.  The “Group of 77” developing countries and China believed that a strong partnership should be a major cornerstone to achieve the Millennium Goals.

Like previous speakers, he noted that volatile energy prices, the financial crisis, food security and climate change could undermine achievement of the Millennium Goals.  The ongoing financial crisis reversed many development gains.  Two years later, developing countries had not recovered.  All of them had made progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals, albeit, uneven.  Despite positive developments, however, there were still 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, and insufficient advances towards women’s empowerment.  Almost half the people in the developing world still did not have access to basic sanitation, and many were unemployed.

He stressed the need for “coherent” development, and stressed that the Millennium Goals should be the overreaching goal of the development activities of the United Nations.  He also emphasized the United Nations role in global financial governance.  The current meeting was an important step in accelerating attainment of the Millennium Goals, but more needed to be done.  The international community should step up the Global Partnership for Development.  The Group of 77 and China stood ready to do its part and foster development to achieve the timely achievement of the Goals.

PETER K.A. TURKSON, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the Holy See, noted that the unanimous endorsement of the Millennium Declaration had underscored the human aspects of development and that progress had been made in that regard, but much remained to be done to guarantee the availability of resources.  He emphasized his support for “the full and integral compliance” of the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, as well as the need to eradicate the debts of poor countries and reinforce the allocation of 0.7 per cent GDP for ODA.

The campaign for development, he stated, had revealed that “success is not attributable so much to economic assistance as to creativity and resourcefulness”.  In that context, population policies that violated human dignity did not serve the Millennium Goals.  Rather, ensure to poor countries the effective mainframe of Goal 8, and they would assume the shared responsibility and national ownership of achieving the other Goals.  “The Millennium Development Goals should be used to fight poverty and not to eliminate the poor,” he said.

The Holy See invited countries to provide quality resources for the health-care needs of mothers and their babies, including the unborn, he said.  Repeated references in the outcome document to “sexual and reproductive health” and “family planning” raised deep concerns, as those could be interpreted as including access to abortion and methods of family planning that were not in accordance with the natural law.

TOMÁŠ DUB, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, welcomed the political will to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, but said the major task of the next five years was to create mechanisms that would translate the commitments into reality at a local level.  On a national level, it was also necessary to regularly update development strategies and plans that reflected the current statistics and lessons learned, and to integrate them into national legislative systems.  Innovative approaches leading to the achievement of the Goals, at both a national and local level, must be designed from the bottom up, on the basis of country-specific facts and a holistic community-led approach.

Further, eradicating poverty should not be limited to ODA — or to measures to curb inflation and public debt, he said.  Instead, it required a combination of measures that encouraged employment, fiscal and monetary stabilization, mobilization of domestic resources and good governance.  Those measures were among the top priorities in the Czech Republic’s new Strategy of Development Cooperation and Strategy of Transition Policy, which had contributed to promoting transition in Eastern Europe and Western Balkans.  Social development was a fundamental prerequisite for achieving all the Millennium Goals.  Good governance and respect of human rights were among the main priorities of the Czech Republic.  Good governance and rule of law at all levels, as well as solid democratic institutions, were essential, not only for attainment of the Goals, but also for sustained, inclusive and equitable development in general.

SAYYID BADR BIN HAMAD AL BUSAIDI, State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman, said the Millennium Summit was a milestone in international cooperation, and if the eight Goals outlined by that meeting were implemented, the global community would create a world with greater access to health care and education.  Ten years on, there had been success in some areas.  Progress continued in poverty reduction, putting more children in schools, controlling malaria and HIV, and providing safe water.  However, many targets were likely to be missed.  At a time of economic crisis, combating global poverty, disease and inequality was not easy.  The negative impact of natural disasters, epidemics and civil unrest served to make debt-ridden developing countries poorer.  The Goals made up the most broadly supported, comprehensive and specific anti-poverty strategy the world had ever agreed on.

The initiative would not end in 2015.  Across the world, progress towards the Goals was uneven.  Politicized aid-giving factionalized the global community.  He urged that development should reach everyone, everywhere.  Oman continued to achieve positive progress in all the areas of the Goals. For example, under-five mortality rates had fallen by 29 per cent since 1990.  In addition, the Government’s promotion of women to numerous leadership positions provided a meritocratic example following the basic principle of equality.  However, he put two challenges forward: to work on reducing road traffic accidents and non-communicable diseases.  Attaining the Goals was a realistic aim for the future, but to succeed, one had to reflect on the old saying: “a stranger is a friend I have not yet met”.  Let us help our friends, strangers and each other, he said.

MAX HENDERSON HERNANDEZ, Vice-Minister of Planning of Mexico, said the meeting was of highest relevance because it allowed an assessment of the advances achieved, the challenges that remained, and especially because it allowed for a reiteration of prior commitments.  For Mexico, achievement of the Goals constituted a commitment of the State.  That was why, both nationally and internationally, Mexico had taken decisive actions to reach them.  For Mexico, it was an honour to reiterate that the Goals were a component of its social policy.  Advances in social development were the result of a solid institutional framework that allowed the Government to carry out a national social policy, sustained by, among others, instruments of planning, accountability and evaluation, as well as laws, inter-institutional coordination and registers of beneficiaries of social programmes.

Mexico relied on a strategy of “vivir mejor” — or “living better” — to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which included the development of basic skills; supporting sustained actions on food, health, education and housing; the consolidation of a social protection network; and the establishment of bridges that connected social and economic policies.  Mexico registered an advance; that the country had achieved in advance the Goal set for 2015 of reducing by half the percentage of people with incomes lower than $1 a day.  In addition, he registered significant advances related to primary education for children.

He went on to highlight the “Guanajuato Declaration” which had come out of the World Youth Conference.  It underlined the importance of the Millennium Goals for that demographic.  He hoped that the Declaration would be useful and that new initiatives would allow youth to be introduced productively into the economies.  Health care was a major Goal, and the efforts to pay close attention to such matters would also take advantage of synergies with other social programmes.  He also noted the adverse effects of climate change, and said that 2010 would be key in committing to face that global challenge.

CAROLINE ZIADE (Lebanon) said today’s meeting must be used as an opportunity to reaffirm commitments, implement objectives and strengthen partnerships.  Lebanon, like other countries, continued to suffer from the negative impacts of climate change, as well as from the financial crisis and other “faces of globalization” that had created a bigger gap between rich and poor.  In cooperation with UNDP, Lebanon had published a report indicating that the country was on the right track to achieving the Goals by 2015.  Citing examples, she said Lebanon had reduced the poverty rate from 28 per cent in 1999 to 8 per cent in 2004.

Moreover, gender equality, as related to education level, had increased, she said, while the number of female parliamentarians in the last elections was no less than six.  The country also had reduced child mortality from 2000 levels and decreased infant deaths from 1990 levels.  At the same time, Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon had had devastating effects on economic and social development.  Debt was high and the Government was trying to reduce the servicing of public debt.  Associated costs had been reduced from 18 per cent of GDP in 2001 to 12 per cent in 2008.  Urging the achievement of the Goals, she said the dreams of the world’s poor must not disappear like mirages.

JOSÉ MANUEL DURÃO BARROSO, President of the European Commission, speaking on behalf of the European Union, called extreme poverty the most challenging global issue, which “mocks” our technical progress, and urged the international community to confront social and gender equalities that locked too many people into poverty.  The European Union, as the world’s leading donor — accounting for more than 50 per cent of the development aid — had kept the fight against poverty high on its agenda, he said.

Among its achievements, the European Union had helped put 9 million more girls and boys in schools since 2001, connected 31 million households to clean drinking water, and provided €1.5 billion in additional support through food programmes that benefited 50 million people, he said.  Despite such gains, efforts must be increased in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  In June, Europe’s leaders had agreed on an ambitious plan for those Goals where the least progress had been made, and in those regions and countries that were most lagging behind, including those experiencing conflict, crisis and fragile governance.  The plan confirmed the Union’s commitment to meet the 0.7 per cent of GNI target by 2015, and he called on other donors to step up their own level of ambition.

Reaffirming Europe’s commitment to meet the challenge, he announced that the Union was ready to offer to the most committed and needy countries an “MDG initiative amounting to €1 billion to make progress on those Goals we are furthest from achieving”.  He urged results, warning “time is running out”.  At the same time, he said aid was a catalyst and not a cure.  That was why it was also important that the recipients took charge of their own development.  That meant mobilizing domestic policies and resources to support the Goals.  “Just as donors should be held accountable, partner countries should also be held accountable for the results they achieve,” he concluded.  “We owe this to all our fellow human beings fighting to survive on a dollar a day,” he added.

EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said poverty remained one of the biggest challenges to the socio-economic development of developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  Notwithstanding the abundant natural and material endowments in some Conference countries, about 22 of its 57 member States were categorized as least developed countries, while about 41 others were considered as low-income food-deficit countries.   In some member States, 70 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line.  The Islamic Conference had therefore reinvigorated its machinery for economic cooperation among its members through a comprehensive mobilisation of resources within and outside its community.

He said the major thrust of the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s contributions to the achievement of the Goals was the development of the human productive capacity through its poverty-alleviation programmes, expansion of intra-Conference trade, vocational training and agro-industrial capacity-building.  The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development and the Special Programme for Development of Africa had galvanized action in the area of micro-finance, agro-industrial capacity building and rural development.  The Solidarity Fund was a $10 billion financing window for targeted interventions to foster sustainable economic growth, reduce illiteracy and eradicate contagious diseases.  The Special Programme was a $12 billion facility that focused on agriculture, water and sanitation, power generation, transport infrastructure, education and the elimination of major communicable diseases.

The global food, energy and financial crises had considerably reversed the successes realized during the first five years, he said.  The various trade liberalization measures of the Conference’s Trade Preferential System had witnessed a steady improvement in the volume of intra-Conference trade, for instance, but that volume had begun to slow down in 2009 as a direct consequence of the global crises.  Although the Organization of the Islamic Conference was mobilizing support for actions aimed at mitigating the impacts of the crises, there was a need for global partnerships to address such issues as the reform of the international financial architecture.  A wider consultation within the G-20 was necessary to reflect the varied financial systems in the world. 

ANDERS JOHNSSON, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the recent Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament had issued a call for securing global democratic accountability for the common good.  That summit’s outcome document called for greater parliamentary involvement in international cooperation and proposed related action by parliaments and IPU in pursuit of that.  The summit had taken stock of progress in developing a parliamentary dimension to international cooperation and to assess parliamentary involvement in support of the Millennium Development Goals.  The Goals would not be met without an accompanying sense of accountability.  The Speakers had pledged to support efforts in parliament to ensure development goals were taken into account in their daily work and translated into national programmes and laws.  They encouraged all parliaments, when examining draft budgets and bills, to assess their impact on meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Female Speakers who had met in Bern before that summit had called for stronger efforts to meet the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals and invited all parliaments to implement the Bern initiative for global parliamentary action on maternal and child health, he said.  Much parliamentary work had been done to make the goals achievable, but there had been less progress in parliamentary oversight and review of progress.  Broad political support and national ownership were needed to reach the goals.  There was no one-size-fits-all policy to achieve the Millennium Goals.  Such policies must be tailored to the realities of each country.

SIMA BAHOUS, Assistant Secretary-General for Social Affairs of the League of Arab States, noting the importance of achieving the Goals, said mechanisms of joint Arab action — specialized Arab organizations among them — had laid out programmes to reach the Goals.  The 2008 Arab Summit in Riyadh had called for programmes focusing on social and economic development issues aimed at improving the lives of Arab citizens.  An assessment of the Arab region had been carried out regarding the achievement of the Goals, while the first economic and social development summit, in 2009, had reaffirmed the region’s commitment to them through a programme of action that featured a vision for reducing poverty.  Programmes also focused on less developed Arab States were being implemented regionally.

Continuing, she said the Second Arab Development Summit would be held in Egypt in 2011 to evaluate achievements and difficulties.  To prepare for today’s meeting, the General Secretary, through the Council of Ministers of Social Affairs in the Arab World, among others, had prepared the third Arab report on the Goals for 2010.  That report represented the region’s position on achieving the Goals, and emphasizing the interdependence among them.  It also reaffirmed the need for intensified efforts among regional States, as well as for “inventive” employment opportunities.  While it showed that poverty had fallen in most Arab States, it underscored that unemployment was a major challenge, especially among youth.  Education, women’s empowerment and maternal health also required attention, a fact that must be promoted as each issue had crucial importance in combating poverty.

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