Recognising The Achievements, Addressing The Challenges And Getting Back On Track To Achieve The Mdgs By 2015

Your Excellency Prime Minister of Finland,
Your Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mali,
Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I welcome you all to this important and timely thematic debate to help get us back on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

I would like to thank the generous sponsors of this event the United Nations Foundation, the Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors, and the Permanent Missions of Austria, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

I would also like to give a special welcome to the Prime Minister of Finland and the Foreign Minister of Mali, whose presence today along side the Secretary-General symbolizes the sense of urgency and resolve with which both developed and developing countries attach to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Let me begin by sharing with you the words of George Bernhard Shaw;

“The greatest evils and the worst of crimes is poverty”,…… eliminating poverty is our first duty……, “a duty to which every other consideration should be sacrificed.”

What a profound call to action against poverty.

Achieving the MDGs is fundamentally a test of our global partnership on development. A partnership, that goes beyond cooperation among Member States to include the private sector, civil society and the global public. At this halfway point, the question is not whether the glass is half full or half empty? The issue is, how quickly are we going to fill it up? This is exactly the purpose of this debate.

I agree with one of the founding fathers of the MDGs, former Namibian President Sam Nujoma. We will only emerge victorious and meet most, if not all, of the MDGs by 2015, with more commitment and dedication.

The stakes are high. If we achieve the MDGs on time 500 million people will be lifted out of poverty, 300 million more people will be adequately fed, and 30 million young children’s lives will have been saved.

Yet at the mid-point between the adoption of the Goals and the 2015 deadline to achieve them, it is already clear that our pace is too slow.

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