Helen Clark: Speech at the meeting of the World Bank’s Development Committee

Apr 20, 2013

The UN welcomes the elaboration of the “Common Vision” for the World Bank and its two goals.

We also welcome the strong commitment President Jim Kim is making to working collaboratively with the UN and other partners – in practical action to accelerate progress on the MDGs, and on the elaboration of a renewed global development agenda and sustainable development goals.

The two goals proposed for the World Bank Group in its “Common Vision” can only be reached through broad partnerships which support nationally led and owned strategies and are catalytic in unleashing access to greater resources, including private investment.

In this regard, I highlight three important points:
1.    Ending extreme poverty worldwide will not be an outcome of economic growth per se. Clearly the quality of growth matters. Growth must be generated in the sectors where the poorest live and work – not least in agriculture.

Growth also needs to be inclusive and policies overall need to specifically target inequality, marginalization, and exclusion as they affect women and minorities of all kinds.

The fast moving developing countries identified in this year’s global Human Development Report are seen to have succeeded because of their willingness to pursue pragmatic economic and social policies. They have consciously reinvested the proceeds of growth in their people’s health and education, and increasingly also in social protection systems to lock in development gains and tackle inequality.

2.    On current projections, most of the world’s extremely poor people in around twelve to fifteen years from now will be living in countries which have been held back by conflict and violence. Fragility continues where there is weak governance, low social cohesion, and pressure on scarce natural resources.

Working collaboratively to strengthen governance, institutions, communities, economic activity, and peaceful resolution of disputes in these countries must be a top priority if extreme poverty worldwide is to be eradicated.

3.    I welcome President Kim’s emphasis on climate change as a major threat to development. Our common future and most certainly the future of the world’s poorest people will depend on our collective willingness to tackle that challenge and the broader challenge of environmental degradation effectively.

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