I am pleased to introduce this year’s MDG Gap Task Force Report.
I created the Task Force five years ago to track progress in strengthening the Global Partnership for Development – the eighth Millennium Development Goal, and just as crucial as the other seven.
In March I reported major progress in achieving the MDGs.
Several important global targets – such as on poverty, water, slums and on parity between girls and boys in primary education – have been met.
But, on the global partnership, progress is weaker.
Last year, official development assistance declined for the first time in many years. I repeat my call to the international community: do not place the burden of fiscal austerity on the backs of the poor – either in your own countries or abroad.
I commend those donors that have maintained or increased aid, despite cutting overall budgets.
On trade, protectionism prompted by the economic crisis is hurting exports from developing countries, which would benefit greatly from duty-free and quota-free exports.
The stalled Doha Round of trade negotiations remains the best route to a fairer, development-oriented trading system.
We need to get past the impasse caused by the so-called “everything or nothing” approach.
On debt relief, current initiatives are coming to an end despite debt distress in many countries and even though they have been shown to be effective.
The Gap Task report notes some progress on health. Yet essential medicines are much too expensive and only half of public health facilities in developing countries are able to provide them. This could be alleviated by strengthening local production capacity.
Internet access is also prohibitively expensive for the poor, especially in Africa. This highlights the need to increase infrastructure and expand connectivity.
On climate change, there are encouraging new commitments to provide developing countries with better access to technologies.
I urge Member States to follow up on their commitment to the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Mechanism.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The report paints a troubling picture.
It is clear that we need a stronger global partnership to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 deadline.
Everyone gains from improved standards of living in poorer countries.
What we have achieved so far shows that we can succeed.
Let us heed the lessons of this new report and keep pressing for progress.