I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this important Forum, and I thank the Government of the Russian Federation for hosting. Your meeting comes as the international community works to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals and shape a vision for years ahead.
The global goal of halving poverty was achieved in 2010. We have seen remarkable gains in access to improved sources of water, the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, improving conditions for slum dwellers in cities, enrolment in primary education and the advancement of women.
At the same time, we must acknowledge that progress has been uneven and insufficient. Environmental sustainability is under threat, with accelerating growth in global greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. More than a billion people still live in extreme poverty. Nearly all of them suffer from hunger.
Poverty must remain central to the international development agenda. Earlier this month, my High-level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda presented its report, calling for a new global partnership to eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms. This includes tackling other threats to humanity, including climate change and environmental degradation, and putting in place the building blocks of sustained peace and prosperity for all.
As the debate on the details of the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals proceeds, we will need the ideas and engagement of all. I count on the leaders meeting at the XVII St. Petersburg Economic Forum to help us advance in resolving the pressing challenges of our day and pave the way for sustainable peace and development in the future.
In this spirit, I wish you a productive meeting.