UN Headquarters

01 November 2007

Remarks at the launch of the MDG Monitor Website

Ban Ki-moon

Mr. [Kemal] Dervis [UNDP Administrator], Mr. [Carlos] Dominguez [Cisco Senior Vice-President], Mr. [Michael] Jones [Google Chief Technologist], Ladies and gentlemen of the media.

Good morning. It is a pleasure to join you today. Thank you all for coming to the launch of the MDG Monitor. This new online resource is an innovative tool to help track progress towards our Millennium Development Goals.

The MDGs -- adopted by all the world's Governments in the year 2000 – is our common vision for building a better world in the twenty-first century. We have just passed the midpoint in the race to reach the Goals by the target date of 2015. Our global score card is mixed. Some regions – particularly sub-Saharan Africa – are not on track.

Today, almost one billion people on our planet still live on less than one dollar a day. Millions of children die every year before reaching their fifth birthday from causes associated with malnutrition. Malaria, AIDS, and other infectious diseases are taking their worst toll on countries that can least afford it. And in many cities in developing countries, more than half the population lives in slums, with little or no access to basic services.

These are just a few of the disturbing facts that should stir us all to do more -- and to act now -- to end the scourge of poverty once and for all.

Clearly, we are facing a development emergency -- and we need emergency action.

For the first time in history, the world has at its disposal the means to cut poverty in half in the span of a generation. But ultimately, achieving the MDGs is a matter of political will. There is no silver bullet, but the resources, knowledge and tools for achieving the Goals do exist.

Having the tools to closely monitor data on the MDGs is one of the most important requirements for this endeavour to succeed.

That is what makes today's launch of the MDG Monitor so crucial. Now, for the first time, all information on the MDGs is available in one place, for all who seek it, with a few simple clicks of the mouse.

The MDG Monitor will not only help measure progress towards the Goals, it will also identify gaps and pinpoint areas where additional efforts are required.

It will provide essential information for policy makers and development practitioners worldwide. It will encourage countries to learn from each other's experiences. It will harness the power of the Internet to advance our shared development goals. It will help increase public access and attention to the MDGs. In so doing, it will encourage leaders -- from both rich and poor countries -- to honour their promises to meet the Goals.

Achieving the Goals is a truly global task, requiring Governments, international organizations, private companies and civil society to work together. I thank Google and Cisco for helping us create the MDG Monitor -- an example of the kind of innovative partnerships we need.

With that, Ladies and Gentlemen, I launch our newest beacon in the fight against extreme poverty and inequality -- the MDG Monitor.

[The Secretary-General places hand on mouse, together with Mr. Dervis and the representatives of Google and Cisco, to virtually launch the site]

Now I will turn you over to our colleagues from UNDP, Google and Cisco, who will provide you with more details about the MDG Monitor.

Thank you very much.