Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

4 June 2012

Secretary-General's remarks at the Islamic Development Bank

It is a pleasure for me to visit the Islamic Development Bank.

Yesterday, I visited OIC Headquarters, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; that’s more political and humanitarian work.

Now, you are devoting much more [work] on developmental issues of the 56 Member States. This is a very important regional organization. The United Nations highly values the very strong partnership with the regional organizations, like in this area you have the OIC and LAS, the League of Arab States.

And I have been meeting and working very closely with the regional development banks – the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

I have not been able to visit the Asian Development Bank (ADB), even though I am coming from Asia. But I have been working very closely with the World Bank and IMF [International Monetary Fund]. These are very important organizations with whom we have to work very closely to meet, first of all, the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

I’d like to really thank you for your strong and very active participation in the MDG Advocacy Group as well as in the MDG Africa Steering Group. You have really been participating very actively.

Last month (Islamic Development Bank Group) President Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani participated in the High-Level Thematic Debate at the General Assembly on the state of the world economy and the impact of the financial crisis on development. And we really appreciate it.

That was quite a crucial contribution in our discussions on that. Since 1975, and the founding of your organization, you have been making an extremely important contribution to many agendas, starting from poverty eradication, now as a part of the MDGs.

You have been working very closely with the United Nations on water issues, food crisis issues, also gender empowerment, sanitation and global health issues, and climate change.

All of these are important areas where the United Nations and the Islamic Development Bank have been working very closely together. My visit, even though this is very brief, is the very first ever during my term.

I am very much encouraged when you mentioned that your work is aligned with the priorities, the major priorities, of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. I hope that we will continue to work together.

I am also glad that when you mentioned that Professor Jeffrey Sachs has been working very closely together with you on the Millennium Development Goals and Millennium Village Project.

Those are very important successful blueprints as well as our target to achieve. As we have about 15 days to go before we meet in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 summit meeting I sincerely hope that Member States will be able to [put forward] a very concrete, concise, ambitious and bold package for the sustainable development of this world.

We have been working very hard. Member States have been negotiating very hard until maybe last night, yesterday. They have still left many, many unresolved issues. I am optimistic that the leaders, when they come to Rio de Janeiro,  they will give very strong and clear political directions so that we will be able to come out of Rio+20 with a very strong and ambitious and workable and practical package for humanity.

There are many issues - Member States have identified 26 primary areas, starting from climate change, water, energy, food security, gender, global health, education, and all these are very important - urbanization, livable cities and deforestation, oceans. There are so many issues.

We hope Member States will come out with all the must-have elements. We have to have agreement on this for humanity. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. If we miss this time we may have to wait many, many years. But there is no time to wait. There is no time to waste at this time.

We must understand that there is clearly a limitation in our planet earth -- a limitation in the resources available. Somehow, while our planet earth, nature, has been very kind to our human beings, human beings have not been aware or conscious of our planetary limitations.

We have to now have a correct vision of where we are heading. Whether we are heading toward mutual prosperity, common prosperity, or whether we are going toward very negative tragic consequences for humanity.

I think we have a moral and political responsibility for the vision which we have to hand over to our succeeding generations. Many, many succeeding generations will have to live in a sustainable and environmentally hospitable way. That’s our target. That’s our commitment.

In that regard, the regional banks like the Islamic Development Bank have a very crucially important role to do. You said that this is basically without any superpower as a member, but rather [thanks to] South-South cooperation.

Normally the perception is that development assistance should come from North to South. But now we see a significantly increasing trend – South-South cooperation. So North-South, South-South cooperation, should be inevitably inseparable elements of our common development.

So there you have a strong and very crucial role to play. And I really count on your continuing engagement and support, most eminently for the success of the MDG realization and, again, the success of our Rio+20 summit for all – and so, the mutual, harmonious prosperity of this world. And I am very glad and very pleased to visit these Headquarters and I really count on strong commitment and leadership.

Thank you very much.