‘Not a Moment to Lose,’ Warns Deputy Secretary-General at General Assembly’s Development Dialogue, as 2015 Nears Amid ‘Vast Backlog of Deprivation’

14 June 2011

‘Not a Moment to Lose,’ Warns Deputy Secretary-General at General Assembly’s Development Dialogue, as 2015 Nears Amid ‘Vast Backlog of Deprivation’

14 June 2011
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘Not a Moment to Lose,’ Warns Deputy Secretary-General at General Assembly’s


Development Dialogue, as 2015 Nears Amid ‘Vast Backlog of Deprivation’


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s opening remarks at the General Assembly development dialogue, in New York on 14 June:

It is a pleasure to join you for this discussion.  The United Nations agenda is becoming more crowded every day.  We are responding to conflicts, disasters and other emergencies.  But we cannot relent in our campaign to reach the Millennium Development Goals.  We have many examples of real progress around the world that testify to the soundness of the approach embodied in the Millennium Development Goals: putting people first.

Last month in Istanbul, the Conference on the Least Developed Countries reaffirmed commitment to helping the more than 800 million people living in the world’s poorest countries to build capacity and resilience.  The least developed countries, with genuine opportunities for businesses and investors, are poised to be the next wave of development achievement.  And just last week here in New York, the High-Level Meeting on AIDS agreed to intensify their efforts to realize our vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.  With global solidarity, we can end this epidemic once and for all.

These recent developments are just part of the global mobilization behind the Millennium Development Goals that has brought us a long way since they were first articulated more than a decade ago.  We can go a similarly long way in the four precious years that remain until 2015.

But we have to do even more than we have done already.  Food prices are high and volatile.  Unemployment is destroying family incomes.  Millions of children are not in school.  Tens of thousands of children are lost to preventable diseases each day and hundreds of thousands of women still die in pregnancy and childbirth each year.  The impacts of climate change are ever more apparent, and we are still moving too slowly in making a much-needed transition to a low-carbon, clean-energy path of development.  Moreover, the global economic crisis has also ushered in an era of fiscal austerity.  Still, we must protect our development gains.  We must never forget that investments in development pay huge dividends.

In such a climate, we need to scale up those interventions that have the best chance to generate progress across the Millennium Development Goals.  We must look for multiplier effects wherever we can.  And none is more dramatic, none is more proven, than investments in the health of women and children.  Healthy women deliver healthy children who can attend school and become part of a healthy workforce.  A healthy workforce is a productive workforce, able to do its rightful part in building cohesive, prosperous societies.

We can take heart from gains on the health Millennium Development Goals.  Last year, countries and a broad range of partners pledged more than $40 billion for the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.  At its essence, the Strategy is about taking what we know works for women and children, and bringing those efforts to scale.  It is providing an energized platform to support national processes by reaching out to new constituencies and bringing in new influential actors.  And it is putting a special focus on information — on solid statistics encompassing births, deaths, causes of death and much else.  Information is a critical component for analysis and policymaking across the Millennium Development Goals, yet we have not invested enough in it.  The Strategy seeks to do better.

Another of the Strategy’s main features is a new and heightened focus on accountability.  We have a framework that will tell us where the money is coming from, where it is going and how effectively it is being spent.  This ability to track resources and results is critical for ensuring that all partners deliver on their commitments and that we are achieving tangible progress in achieving our goals.

The agreed deadline of 2015 is fast approaching.  We do not have a moment to lose.  We need to make greater strides towards balanced and sustainable development.  We also need to intensify our talks on what lies beyond 2015.  Even a decade ago, we knew that achieving the Millennium Development Goals would, in a sense, be only half the job.  We knew that there would still be a vast backlog of deprivation.

The time has come to look at those numbers — at those people — at all the women, men and children who will be barely touched by what we do by 2015, and who will therefore need our attention come 2016 and beyond.  I look forward to your continued contributions in meeting this shared test of our common humanity.

Please accept my best wishes for a productive dialogue.  Thank you for your attention.

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