Your Excellency Ambassador Sajdik, President of the Economic and Social Council, Honorable 42nd President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the President of ECOSOC Ambassador Sajdik for convening this annual Partnerships Forum. I am honoured to today represent the Secretary-General, who is on his way back to New York from meetings in Brussels.
Let me also warmly welcome President Bill Clinton. Your commitment to tackling global issues is truly inspiring -- from strengthening health systems in Haiti … to empowering women and girls … to helping communities address climate change. I understand you have also recently returned from Liberia - now free from Ebola after heroic efforts from so many inside and outside the country.
I thank you for your strong and genuine sense of global responsibility and solidarity. We look forward to hearing your perspectives at this critical time.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. We are possibly living through the most challenging period since the creation of this Organization. From the ongoing Ebola outbreak – an unprecedented global health crisis … to the spread of violent extremism and terrorism … to the existential threat of climate change. The global landscape is somber and complex.
But one thing is clear: No single entity – no single nation or Organization, can solve the problems alone. I believe a new model for problem solving is required in today’s world. We need to put the problems at the center and mobilize all actors to achieve effective change. We have to move from the vertical, “silo”, approach to the horizontal, crosscutting one.
The theme for today’s Forum focuses on the role of partnerships in achieving the post 2015 agenda and, in particular, how partnerships can help strengthen health systems and build resilience to pandemics, such as Ebola.
Our global response to Ebola has in the end yielded important results. Through the collective contributions of the international community, the leadership of national governments and strong community ownership, considerable strides forward have been made.
Yet the battle is not over, and the final push will be the toughest. The priority is to get to zero cases and to stay there.
As we look across our wider agenda, the coming months will be absolutely crucial.
In July, Member States will meet in Addis Ababa to agree on a comprehensive development financing framework.
In September, we will host a special Summit for the adoption of a universal and transformative sustainable development agenda.
And in December, the international community has committed to finalize a meaningful, universal climate change agreement.
We need mobilization by Member States but we also need partnerships in all of these areas. We need everyone in the room and far beyond to work as partners towards a life of dignity for all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If we are to realize this ambitious agenda, we must have inclusive partnerships at all levels: local, national, regional and global.
I commend the Economic and Social Council for highlighting the necessity of new partnerships in critical areas such as science, technology and education. The transformational and universal post-2015 sustainable development agenda needs to be buttressed by science and technology. Daily, we see how new technologies are opening up new possibilities for sustainable development.
Partnerships for education are a must. In too many places, school doors are closed, particularly for girls. In conflict zones, too many young people are denied the most basic education, setting them and their countries back generations. We need to convene partners and pool resources to improve access to basic education. And we need to enhance quality education at secondary and higher levels.
Innovative initiatives -- including those launched by the Secretary-General such as Sustainable Energy for All, Global Education First, Every Woman Every Child, the Zero Hunger Challenge – among others – are based on strong coalitions among Member States, business, civil society, philanthropic, academic communities and UN agencies, Funds and Programs.
In addition, thousands of companies now participate in the UN's corporate responsibility and sustainability initiative through the Global Compact.
Now is the time to build on what we have learned and apply those lessons in support of the future sustainable development goals.
Today’s meeting will do just that -- offering fresh thinking and reflection on new and catalytic partnerships; including those that will address structural challenges.
One example is the strengthening of health systems around the world. With the recent Ebola outbreak, we must better understand the value of stronger public health systems and from the lessons in dealing with future pandemics.
The United Nations is already in the midst of this process, and as many of you may know, the Secretary-General has recently appointed a high-level panel on Global Response to Health Crisis.
Your discussion here today, led by Dr. Paul Farmer, the Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti, will serve as a valuable contribution to the work of the Panel.
In addition, the UN will host an International Ebola Recovery Conference in New York on July 10, that will provide a platform for the Ebola affected countries to share their recovery plans and resource needs for the coming year.
The African Union will also hold an “International Conference on Africa’s Fight against Ebola” in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from 20-21 July in Malabo.
I call on all of you to rally in support of efforts to respond effectively to pandemics such as Ebola and other global challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally, let me stress that partnerships will only work if they are transparent, inclusive and accountable and in line with the values and principles of the United Nations.
Thank you for coming together to help us in this spirit set the direction for the important period to come. We have a unique opportunity before us to create a sustainable future for all of us and future generations.