New York

25 April 2011

Secretary-General's remarks at reception to launch “CHAMPIONS TO END MALARIA” photo exhibition

Thank you for your introduction, Mr.Richard Stengel, Managing Editor of Time Magazine,

Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership,

Ms.Elizabeth Gore, Executive Director for Global Partnerships at the United Nations Foundation,

Ms. Suzanne McCarron, President of the ExxonMobil Foundation,

Platon,

Mr. Ray Chambers, my Special Envoy for Malaria,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you all for coming. I am very grateful. It is wonderful to see so many good friends united behind a good cause.

I thank the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the ExxonMobil Foundation, Time magazine and the UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign for making this event possible. I also want to thank Ray Chambers for his great work.

Global health is on the international agenda like never before.

Our gains in the fight against malaria are showing how much is possible with smart policies, targeted interventions, resources, and commitment.

You all know the numbers.

Millions of protective bednets have found their way to men, women and children in need.

Thanks to these and other inventions, malaria deaths dropped by almost 10 per cent globally in the past year alone.

These successes are tremendous. They show that our strategies are working.

Yet a decade ago, the world still seemed largely at the mercy of this ancient foe. Change of the scope we have achieved was hard to imagine. What changed?

What changed was that we not only cast bednets across great swaths of sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, we cast a wide net in bringing stakeholders together, like you are here today.

Donor nations and those where malaria is endemic; NGOs and foundations; the private sector and UN agencies; all are engaged in the fight.

What also changed was the heightened awareness generated by the articulation of the Millennium Development Goals.

But tonight, the change we celebrate is the remarkable mobilization of individuals: women and men whose creativity and dedication have helped to turn the tide against the disease.

We see some of them in this exhibition. Platon, Daniel Cima and the other photographers have created beautiful, revealing images.

We see policy- and decision-makers, but also people who spend their days spraying insecticides, sewing nets, prescribing treatment, or struggling themselves with the illness.

We see something else, too: the power of individuals to make a difference.

But of course, we are keenly aware that the gains are fragile. In many countries, there is still enormous work to be done in ensuring universal access to treatment and diagnostic tools. Let us also remember that the bednets we have distributed will not last forever, and we must be committed to replacing them.

We can achieve our goal of near zero deaths from malaria by 2015. We have our roadmap. I will continue to look to all of you for leadership, funding, and innovation. I look forward to continuing our work together to finally eliminate a disease that has needlessly taken so many lives.

Thank you very much for your support, leadership and commitment. Thank you.