New York

22 April 2013

Deputy Secretary's remarks at luncheon with members of the Economic and Social Council, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

I think we all can agree that this has been a very productive morning.  I thank you for this opportunity to expand on some of the concrete issues of our discussions.  Let me start with the MDGs.

The Millennium Development Goals remain our global targets up to the year 2015.  We still have around 1000 Days of Action to accelerate progress.

Progress is lagging on a number of MDGs.  I am especially concerned about sanitation.  On behalf of the Secretary-General, I recently launched a Call to Action for Sanitation.  Our goal is to build on the General Assembly’s Sanitation Drive and the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership.  During my participation at the World Bank’s meetings last week, we discussed with Ministers of Finance and experts strategies to invest in sanitation and back the efforts of governments and communities.

Over the past decade or so, there have been dramatic shifts in the global economic and environmental landscape. Climate change has become a central issue on the international agenda.  The world financial and economic crisis exposed new fault lines.  Movements for democracy and dignity worldwide underscored the need for decent work, equality and an end to corruption.  All of us more fully appreciate the need for a more stable international financial system.  And we understand that addressing these issues is essential to peace and stability.

Government leadership remains crucial.  At the same time, we recognize more and more how global challenges require collective action.  Civil society, philanthropic organizations, the private sector, scientific institutions, academics and other partners can make a crucial and substantial contribution.  Partnerships remain an essential component for the successful achievement of the MDGs and the promotion of sustainable development post 2015.  To effectively harness this potential remains an important task for the United Nations.

Today, I also want to use this occasion to call your attention to the question of financing for development.

We need to work actively to develop of options for an effective sustainable development financing strategy.  It is indisputable that we need to enhance financial support from several old and new sources. 

While national governments and international financial institutions have primary responsibilities, we all agree that the private sector and the philanthropic world can play a more active role in the promotion of development.  This goes not least for the area of fighting climate change and promoting sustainable energy systems.

However, we also need to acknowledge that Official Development Assistance (ODA) will continue to play an important role, not least for the least developed countries.  With that in mind, we see with serious concern that ODA is decreasing.  The OECD has reported 6 % decline during the last two years.  This trend must come to a halt.

We need to analyse options and ensure appropriate levels of financing for the MDGs.  But we also have to ensure that the vision for the Post-2015 development agenda will be backed by agreement among Member States on how to finance sustainable development.

Contributing countries must honour their previous commitments to development.  The strengthening of governance, rule of law and institutions are crucial parts of the picture.  We also need to improve the effectiveness of aid and accountability in the use of resources.

The credibility of a bold, yet practical, Post-2015 Development Agenda that Member States are now striving to define will partly depend on the financing resources and innovative mechanisms that will be available.  Equally important for credibility is that we tangibly accelerate the achievement of the present MDGs.

This is a hugely important undertaking for all of us at a time of great consequence for the world.  Let us work together on financing options, MDG acceleration and all else that is needed to set the world on a path of truly sustainable development.

Thank you.