Let me begin by thanking the President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, for his leadership at a time of reform and strengthening of the Council.
We are at an historic juncture with several milestones before us.
First, the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is less than 550 days away.
As we focus on the final push to achieve the MDGS, we know that the goals are making a real difference in people’s lives.
The United Nations 2014 MDG Report, which I am launching today, is the most up-to-date global scorecard.
As it makes clear, the MDGs have helped unite, inspire and transform.
Many key targets have been met or are within reach.
The world has achieved the target of reducing by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and of those without access to improved water sources five years ahead of schedule.
Remarkable gains have been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, with a decline of 42 per cent in malaria mortality rates globally.
Disparities between boys’ and girls’ primary school enrolment have narrowed.
Other important targets – such as universal access to HIV treatment, and the elimination of ozone-depleting substances -- are also within reach.
These achievements show that the combined action of governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector can make a difference.
At the same time, we know that achievements have been uneven between goals, among and within regions and countries, and between population groups.
For the most marginalized and vulnerable in society, social exclusion and discrimination are among the greatest obstacles to progress.
Unless these imbalances are addressed through bolder and more focused interventions, some targets will not be met.
This includes key targets on childbirth, maternal mortality, universal education, and environmental sustainability.
I commend this report to assist your further deliberations.
Our efforts to achieve the MDGs are critical to building a solid foundation for development beyond 2015.
At the same time, we must aim for a strong successor framework to attend to unfinished business and address areas not covered by the eight MDGs.
The world has changed dramatically since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000.
Development, peace, security and the rule of law are more deeply connected than ever before.
Eradicating extreme poverty is even more clearly an imperative to building stable societies.
Tackling growing inequality, in rich and poor countries alike, has become a defining challenge of our times.
Our post-2015 objective must be to leave no one behind.
Wise management of the environment has also become increasingly critical to sustainable economic and social development.
In particular, we must urgently act to limit global temperature rise and strengthen resilience to climate impacts.
We all share the responsibility of promoting equitable sustainable development.
We must act together and intensify our efforts.
But while challenges are daunting, we have many more tools at our disposal than at the turn of the Millennium -- the expanding reach of technology … the deepening of partnerships … the growing understanding of how to achieve results.
We have an opportunity to apply new approaches to accelerate progress and pave the way for a more ambitious, inclusive and universal development framework.
By the end of this year, I will produce a synthesis report to support Member States in their negotiations leading up to the Summit in September 2015.
The report will outline a broad vision for a post-2015 development agenda.
It will draw on the deliberations and the work of the General Assembly and this Council.
Its scope and ambition will be influenced by the outcomes produced by the Open Working Group and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance, as well as the process to develop options for a technology facilitation mechanism.
At the intergovernmental level, the new High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development built around the GA, and a strengthened ECOSOC, is in place.
This architecture is designed to promote an integrated implementation of the new development agenda and the sustainable development goals.
The Forum convenes for the first time under the auspices of ECOSOC to continue to reflect on the post-2015 development context and define its future work.
It will benefit from the work of ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum, which will address some of the critical issues on the future of development cooperation.
This Forum can give impetus to agenda-setting throughout the UN system.
The world counts on this Forum and our new architecture to provide guidance, leadership and action for the implementation of the new agenda.
The entire United Nations system stands ready to support Member States in this effort.
Together, let us pave the way to the future we want – a life of dignity for all.
I wish you a productive meeting.