Your Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Your Excellency, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission,
Excellencies, Mr. Bill Gates, Distinguished guests
There is no greater gift than a healthy start in life.
I know that all of you gathered in Abu Dhabi share my commitment to protecting children from diseases like polio, measles and tetanus.
Immunization is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to prevent these diseases and safeguard young lives.
Today, we celebrate the fact that eighty percent of all children – more than at any time in history – are immunized. They are living and thriving.
But we are also grieving for the millions who are still left behind – simply because they live in poor, under-served, conflict-ridden or isolated communities.
We have reached four out of five children worldwide. Now it is time to reach that fifth child wherever he or she may be. We must break down all barriers that stand in our way.
The global success so far in fighting polio shows how far we can advance. Our great progress came thanks to an international alliance of partners. We came together – governments and health workers … the United Nations and other international organizations … civil society and the private sector.
Today, we have a window of opportunity to end polio forever. And we have a greater appreciation for the power of partnerships.
This campaign is history in the making. It is also clear proof that when we join forces, life-saving vaccines and primary health care can be delivered to those who desperately need them.
Because they lack a simple vaccination, millions of children are being denied their right to a healthy future.
Our challenge is to reach these children. Let us pledge to summon the will and the resources to safeguard their future … and the future of their societies … which is our common future as well.