15 September 2005

Leadership Needed to Implement Summit Decisions, Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Meeting on Financing for Development

It's a Matter of Morality, Security, Enlightened Self-interest, He Stresses

NEW YORK, 14 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at the meeting of the General Assembly on Financing for Development in New York today,  14 September:

The past quarter-century has seen a dramatic reduction in extreme poverty. Yet international solidarity has still fallen well short of need, as many of you know all too well. 

Five years ago, here in New York, the world's leaders signed on to the following words, which I quote from the Millennium Declaration:  "We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty."

Three years ago, at the International Conference on Financing for Development, many of you were among the world leaders who put their weight behind the Monterrey Consensus.  "Our goal is to eradicate poverty", you said.  You expressed concern about "dramatic shortfalls in resources".  And you insisted, "Our resolve to act together is stronger than ever."

Important progress has been made to redeem those pledges and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Aid has increased significantly.  The European Union has set a timetable to reach the 0.7 per cent aid target by 2015.  The G-8 countries have agreed on substantial debt relief for a number of countries.  Promising new ideas are being explored, such as the International Finance Facility.  The quality of governance and policy is improving rapidly in most regions.  Many developing countries are investing in their people, promoting democracy and the rule of law, tackling corruption and welcoming the private sector as a partner.

But there remains an enormous backlog of deprivation.  Our challenge now is to transform the breakthroughs of the past few years into a Monterrey-based MDG performance pact.

At the national level, that means States must practise good governance and mobilize domestic resources.  It is also crucial that they devise strategies that are ambitious enough to meet the Goals and other important development objectives.

For the international community, it means supporting those steps through wide-ranging global reforms:  more and better aid; trade policies that give a fair chance to developing countries; more investment in the world's poorest countries; and opening up institutions to allow the developing world to have a greater voice.  The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council must play a stronger role in monitoring performance, offering advice and, when needed, issuing warnings.  Global public opinion will also be a key force in getting the job done.

The document adopted yesterday as the official outcome of this Summit is not all that we had hoped for.  But it is safe to say that this Summit has served as a real catalyst for development advances that we have been seeking for many years.

Whatever our remaining disagreements on some issues, and whatever the need for further discussion on others -- on trade, for example -- we have made real strides towards alleviating the suffering endured by so many of the world's people at the hands of extreme, senseless poverty.

The Summit declaration maps the path to an effective global partnership for development.  It enshrines the principles of mutual accountability and mutual responsibility that are the essence of the Monterrey Consensus.  And it embodies the notion of national ownership that is at the heart of development.

What the world needs now is leadership that will see this Summit's development decisions implemented fully and without delay.  This is a matter of morality, security and enlightened self-interest.  We have an opportunity to save tens of millions of lives over the next decade, and to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.   We must not disappoint them.

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