Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.
Clark: Launch of the Second MDG Progress Report in the Kyrgyz Republic
Remarks by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, on the occasion of the Launch of the Second MDG Progress Report in the Kyrgyz Republic Ala-Archa State Residence, 16 May 2011
I am pleased to address you at this launch of the Second Millennium Development Goals Progress Report of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The report is being launched at an opportune time with fewer than five years remaining until the MDGs, target date of 2015.
Back in 2000, as a new Prime Minister of my country, I travelled to the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York and signed the Millennium Declaration which enshrined the MDGs.
For the world’s poor, the MDGs have never been just abstract or aspirational targets.
The MDGs actually offered hope of a better future. They promised a global partnership aimed at making their tomorrow better than their today.
Last September, Heads of State and Government gathered at the MDG Summit in New York, and reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to achieving the MDGs. The Summit Outcome Document, adopted by consensus by all 192 member states, set out an agenda for action over the next five years.
Overall, considerable progress has been made on MDG achievement, although it varies across and within countries and regions.
The global goal on poverty is likely to be reached, and gains have been made on getting all children into school, reducing infant and child mortality rates, increasing access to clean water, and turning back the tide of HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Yet, less is being achieved on tackling chronic hunger, providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health, and on reducing high maternal mortality rates, on gender empowerment, on improving sanitation, and on reducing biodiversity loss.
In President Roza Otunbaeva’s address to the MDG Summit last year she spoke of Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to the achievement of the MDGs. I congratulate the President on the leadership she is providing on this, as on so many other issues.
The MDG report for Kyrgyzstan being launched today shows that some important progress has been made:
Extreme poverty was reduced from 32.9 percent in 2000 to 3.1 percent in 2009;
Near universal access to safe drinking water has been achieved, with over ninety per cent of the population having access to potable water;
Kyrgyzstan has universal primary education, and gender inequalities in educational attainment have been eliminated,
Several other MDG targets are on track to be achieved by 2015.
Yet, challenges remain – especially in reducing child and maternal mortality and the spread HIV/AIDS.
The under-five child mortality rate here was 37 per 1,000 live births in 2009. Maternal mortality stood at 51.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010.
While the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is under one percent in Central Asia as a whole, the region is experiencing the fastest growth rate of new cases in the world. The average annual increase in newly detected HIV cases in Kyrgyzstan was 42.9 percent between 2006 and 2009.
The UN Country Team here is committed to supporting Kyrgyzstan to achieve the MDGs.
Our agencies have been working across democratic governance and participation; access to quality services; and local and regional development –all in line with national priorities and with the goal of building the capacity to achieve the MDGs and other development goals.
In the lead up to the MDG Summit last year, UNDP prepared an international assessment of what it will take to achieve the goals. It shows how the MDGs are inter-linked and mutually reinforcing, and how, by pushing hard on one goal, there will be spillover effects for others.
For example, investment in girl’s education not only promotes gender equality, but also contributes to lowering maternal and child mortality; improving educational attainment of the next generation; helps delay the age of marriage; and reduces the likelihood of contracting HIV infection. Fundamentally, education empowers those who have it and has transformational effects for individuals, families, communities and nations.
To accelerate progress on the MDG targets, policies and programmes need to be based on cross cutting strategies. Every country can identify the MDG multipliers which are most relevant to them.
The MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF), developed by UNDP and endorsed by the UN Development Group, is designed to help countries to do just that.
It enables governments and development partners to identify the bottlenecks in the way of MDG progress, and the solutions which can break through them.
The UN Country Team is committed to assist in this process, in line with national priorities and the new United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
For many countries –and Kyrgyzstan is no exception– attaining the MDGs is challenging.
The global recession, high food and fuel prices, natural disasters –including those caused by climate change, and civil unrest and violence all pose serious obstacles to progress in many places.
Yet, we cannot let the obvious difficulties become an excuse to lower our ambition. Rather we need to redouble our efforts.
At UNDP, we believe that with leadership and vision, with good strategies and policies and the capacity to implement them, and with strong partnerships, the MDGs can be achieved.
National progress reports like the one we are launching today help keep the MDGs high on the agenda and focus us all on what needs to be done.
During my time in Kyrgyzstan, I have had the pleasure of meeting with President Roza Otunbaeva, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, other cabinet ministers, and prominent members of civil society.
Throughout my meetings I have been impressed by the commitment of the Kyrgyz authorities to achieving the MDGs, and the enthusiasm with which they seek to engage with the international community to advance global and regional goals.
At UNDP, we are strong advocates for support to Kyrgyzstan as it strives to meet the aspirations of its people for a better life, including through its democratic transition and achieving the MDGs.