Secretary General: Remarks at "Turning evidence into practice"

Sep 22, 2010

The Secretary General

Remarks at the MDG Summit side event organized by UNDP:
Turning Evidence Into Practice: Learning from What Works to Accelerate MDG Progress"

New York, 22 September 2010

His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos, (President of Colombia),
His Excellency Choummaly Sayasone, (President of Laos PDR),
Her Excellency Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, (President of Liberia),
Ms. Helen Clark, (Administrator of UNDP),
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to join you.

One of the main objectives of this week’s Summit has been to showcase development success stories.

Our knowledge of what works grows every day.

Governments and civil society around the world have made a tremendous contribution this year in collecting evidence about what is effective, and what falls short.

In doing so, they have been supported by many UN agencies – including the UN Development Programme.

I am grateful for the leadership shown by Helen Clark in supporting the MDGs, including as head of the UN Development Group.  Her personal commitment to this agenda runs deep; after all, as Prime Minister of New Zealand, she was one of the original signatories to the Millennium Declaration.

We are now 10 years into our 15-year MDG promise. Many countries have made significant progress on some of the MDGs.  Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, and Tanzania have seen surges of student enrolment, partially thanks to the abolition of school fees at the primary level. 

Mexico used an innovative certification programme to increase gender equity standards in recruitment and career advancement in private firms.  Its success has inspired similar initiatives in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Egypt.  
These experiences, alongside those gathered from 50 other countries, have been brought together in the International Assessment of what it will take to reach the MDGs.  The Assessment gives us a foundation for action as we seek to accelerate progress over the next five years.

We know what works.  We are also learning more about how to take success in one country, and adapt it to generate gains in another.

Many countries have already begun doing so, drawing on experience from both the North and the South. 

Today, with the presentation of the MDG Acceleration Framework, we seek to do even more.

The initiative is grounded in extensive cooperation, including across the UN system.

Among the ten countries in which it is being piloted are two represented on our panel today – Colombia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  Their experiences illustrate the importance of understanding the obstacles – and how to overcome them.

Sometimes our efforts are hindered by the lack of money.  Developing countries themselves need to mobilize money and direct it to the services and investments that poor people care about.  Donors need to make good on their promises. 

We are also often impeded by a lack of capacity; of people and of institutions.

We need to unblock these and other bottlenecks, and unlock the progress we know is possible.

We have the technologies and know how to fulfill our promises.

I am determined to see the UN system remain at the forefront of this effort.  And I look forward to seeing the MDG Acceleration Framework play a successful role in helping to deliver a better life for billions of people around the world.

Thank you.

Related information:

Press Release:

Speech by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark: "Turning Evidence into Practice: learning from what works to accelerate MDG progress"

UNDP Around the world