The Secretary-General Message to Special Ministerial Meeting for the Millennium Development Goal Review in Asia and the Pacific

Aug 3, 2010

It is a pleasure to send greetings to all the participants in this Special Ministerial Meeting. Ten years ago, Heads of State and Governments made a solemn promise to spare no effort to fight extreme poverty and inequalities, and to build a global partnership for development by 2015.

Next month, world leaders will return to New York to assess progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and, we hope, agree on strategies and concrete steps to accelerate progress so that we can fulfil the promises that were made.

To date, the global record is mixed: there have been many important gains, but much remains to be done. Despite the recent food, energy and economic and financial crises, the developing world remains on track to halve extreme poverty from its 1990 level. A number of countries have registered major successes in combating hunger, improving school enrolment and child health, expanding access to clean water and HIV treatment, and controlling tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. These improvements have happened in some of the poorest countries, demonstrating that the MDGs are indeed achievable.

Nevertheless, the gains have been uneven across the goals and from country to country. And the recent crises have made this work harder still. Progress has been slow in improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality. There has been insufficient progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Almost half of the people inthe developing world continue to live without access to basic sanitation. Too many peopleremain jobless or under-employed. And more attention needs to be given to sustainabilityand green growth.

The Asia and Pacific region, for its part, has made significant gains, thereby contributing to global successes. This meeting is a timely opportunity for you to highlightwhich strategies have worked well in your countries and brainstorm about how your success stories can be replicated elsewhere. Indeed, one of the main goals of the September Summit is to showcase what works -- in order to scale it up.

This meeting will also allow you to address the remaining gaps and continuing challenges. In particular, we must assist those countries that have fallen behind, especially the region’s fourteen least developed countries and the Small Island Developing States.

The United Nations will continue to be your partner. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific will continue to work with its UN system partners and regional organizations to report on progress and policy challenges, and to carry out capacity building programmes.

I trust that you will use this ministerial meeting to advance our common objectives. Your efforts can help maximize our success at the September Summit. Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.