16 July 2010

Opening remarks at MDG Advocates Meeting

Ban Ki-moon

Your Excellency, President of Rwanda, Mr. Paul Kagame,
Your Excellency, Foreign Minister of Spain, Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos
Your Excellency Michelle Bachelet,
Esteemed MDG Advocates,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Primero, felicidades a España por ganar la Copa Mundial de Fútbol.

As we open this first meeting of the MDG Advocates Group, I would like express my sincere gratitude to Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain for hosting us. Even though he cannot be with us, I know his heart is here and I appreciate his leadership in this MDG campaign.

There is no better place to focus on scoring goals than right here in world champion Spain.

Spain was not the only victor of the World Cup. Africa was also the big winner. I am grateful for President Paul Kagame for adding his voice to this important cause, and I thank you for serving as co-Chair.

And, of course, I thank all of you for taking time out of your extremely busy schedules to join the MDG Advocates Group. I know you are very busy, busier than I am even, so thank you.

As I said when I launched this group: when it comes to fighting poverty and expanding opportunity, you are global superheroes.

You are eminent global leaders. You are world renowned experts. You have deep knowledge, broadly diverse backgrounds and unique networks of contacts.

You are thinkers, doers and achievers.

You understand the importance of meeting the MDGs – and the power of reaching people.

That is why we are here – to build a global network, a movement, a team, to score the goals and triumph – like Spain – in our great common challenge.

This Group will identify strategic opportunities. You will help build awareness. You will help translate the rhetoric of good intentions into results – real results for real people.

As I have said often, and say again now: We can achieve the MDGs. It is possible.

Of course, we are clear-eyed about the difficulties ahead.

Not long ago, there was a survey of the Millennium Development Goals in the United States.

Nine of ten people said they were not familiar with the specifics of the MDGs.

But encouragingly, when those details were explained, nine out of ten people agreed that leaders must make the MDGs a priority. They all agreed that MDGs must succeed by 2015.

That underscores the importance of your mission.

Around the world, people support the goals and the values embedded in the MDGs -- but we must do more to educate and inform about the MDGs.

That’s where the MDG Advocacy Group comes in.

Now is the time for you to act.

At a moment when more people are looking inward, you can help mobilize a grassroots movement that highlights our common humanity…our common obligations…and our common future.

At a time of economic uncertainty and fiscal austerity, you can help send the message that the MDGs go beyond development.

Meeting the goals is about tapping into the potential and dynamism of the emerging economies and developing countries. It is about generating growth – global economic growth.

It is about creating jobs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In less than three months, world leaders will gather in New York for the MDG Summit. I am encouraged that [some] 150 leaders should attend this Summit. I have never seen such a high number for the [opening] of the General Assembly. This will be the most important global development conference since the Millennium Summit a decade ago.

Your role will be critical. We need you to help mobilize and galvanize. We need you to help make the Summit a turning point. We want world leaders to come out with a detailed and complete action plan. We only have five years left. [...]

Help us adopt the strongest possible action plan for the next five years. Help us score the goals by 2015.

I look forward to your ideas and engagement. I am eager to hear your experiences.

How can we scale-up successes?

How can we find new approaches…mobilize new resources…and help the most vulnerable?

How can we move from aspiration to achievement?

I trust that this meeting…and all of you…can undertake your own programme of action.

Writing op-eds, spreading the MDG message at national, regional and global events, offering expert advice, even raising funds for MDG programs.

Every person counts. Every initiative moves us closer. Every one of you can and will make a difference.

Thank you for being here today.

I look forward to working closely with you.

The people of the world were excited last month [about] the goals that were being scored. We also have other goals. [...] Let´s work for the Millennium Development Goals. Let´s score [these] goals. I need your support and leadership.

Thank you very much. Muchas gracias