Excellencies, Distinguished ministers, Honoured heads of international and non-governmental organizations, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank Japan for hosting this important MDG follow-up meeting. I especially thank Prime Minister Kan Naoto for his strong support for international development.
I particularly welcome the clear signal that Japan's admirable commitment to the Goals remains undiminished even at this difficult time for the country. Although I cannot be there with you today, I stand in solidarity with Japan and the Japanese people as you recover from the terrible tsunami, earthquake and nuclear accident. Please know that the entire United Nations system is ready to help in any way we can.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The MDGs are more than just targets for governments. They are a rallying point for all partners -- civil society, the private sector, foundations and citizens everywhere who care about our world.
Your meeting is an opportunity to see where we are and what more we have to do.
The MDG Summit Action Agenda is our roadmap.
We can take heart from progress on the health MDGs.
Last year, countries pledged over $40 billion for the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health.
This year, we are going to make sure those funds benefit the people who need them most.
The road is long. On education, we have made progress, but more than 60 million children are still denied schooling.
Without a radical shift, girls in particular will be left behind.
Another major challenge is making the transition to a more sustainable model of development. The Rio+20 Conference next June is a chance for progress on energy, environmental protection and much else.
The recent UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries reaffirmed commitment to helping the more than 800 million people living in the world's poorest countries build capacity and resilience.
Looking ahead, the agreed deadline of 2015 is fast approaching. We must live up to the promises we made at the turn of the millennium.
We do not have a moment to lose.
We need to make greater strides towards balanced and sustainable development.
To do this we need to act boldly and urgently by investing the resources we need to protect the gains we have made so far.
The way we honour our commitments will define how well we can help those in need.
Your contributions can make a difference in the lives of millions of people who look to the MDGs with hope.
I have high expectations for your meeting, and I wish you great success.
Thank you for your support.