Helen Clark: Speech at the Media Launch of the UNDG Report: “A Million Voices: The World We Want”

Sep 10, 2013

Helen Clark, UNDG Chair and UNDP Administrator at the Media Launch of the UNDG Report:
“A Million Voices: The World We Want”
United Nations, New York
12:20pm, Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The global conversation facilitated by the UN Development Group has enabled voices from grassroots communities, NGOs, and broader civil society around the world to be heard on the shaping of the post-2015 development agenda. People have engaged energetically in 88 national consultations, 11 thematic consultations, and through the MY World global survey. This report on the views gathered contains important messages for UN Member States as they work towards agreement on a new global development agenda.

People the world over have the same basic needs, and many of those were targeted by the MDGs. Access to education, better health, and water and sanitation, together with a right to gender equality, are of universal importance.

A strong message coming through the consultations has been the importance of tackling the unfinished business of the MDGs.

At the same time, there has been a call to be more ambitious and ensure that no one is left behind. The world is seen to have the resources and the means to eradicate poverty and hunger worldwide – if the political will to achieve that is mobilized.

The consultations took place at a time of continuing global uncertainty. Around the world, many people face unemployment, job insecurity, or the insecurity of working in informal sectors. Discrimination continues to plague working women around the world.  

The lack of decent work can leave people without access to health services and living in poor conditions that are unsafe. The situation is worst for those who, on top of other disadvantages, face discrimination and exclusion. They include poorer people, many women and girls, people in more distant rural areas and urban slums, people living with disabilities, indigenous people, migrants and displaced people, and others who are marginalized for reasons related to factors including their religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

In recognizing all these realities which exacerbate poverty, people participating in the consultations convey the sense that the world is unfair. They want the post-2015 agenda to change that.

It is important for governments to hear the feedback from these consultations as they contemplate the new development agenda. In effect they are being asked to show again the foresight world leaders demonstrated in 2000 when they agreed to the Millennium Declaration.

The global conversation had other messages for governments too: people everywhere want their governments to do a better job; to be honest and responsive in delivering services, creating the conditions for decent work and citizen security; and to take responsibility for the state of the planet and its ecosystems. People also want more input into the decisions their governments take at home and in international forums.

Feedback from the consultations suggests that Member States should agree on an agenda which both gets results and addresses challenges in an integrated way. People understand that fragmented, one-issue -at-a-time approaches don’t work. They call for an agenda that will aim to improve the prospects of both people and the planet we all share.  They want an agenda based on shared respect for human rights, equality, justice, and security. They also emphasized the need for a universal agenda which applies to all countries and all people.

A lasting message is that people want to remain engaged in the new development agenda. They want an agenda which addresses the issues they care about. The revolution they seek is one of accountability. They want to hold their governments, the UN and other international organizations, the private sector, and NGOs to account, to ensure that we all play our part in enabling and empowering people to realize a better future.

I take this opportunity to give public thanks to all who took part over many months in the consultations, including those who participated on-line. This report is being published as an input into the ongoing deliberations by Member States into the post-2015 agenda, in the hope that voices from the world’s diverse communities will be taken into account now and in the future.

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