Helen Clark: Sydney Ideas Distinguished Speaker Lecture on “Sustaining the rise of the South – where from here, and the role of a renewed, universal global development agenda”Oct 16, 2013
Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Sydney Ideas Distinguished Speaker Lecture
“Sustaining the rise of the South – where from here, and the role of a renewed, universal global development agenda”
University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Thank you for inviting me to deliver the Sydney Ideas Distinguished Speaker Lecture here at the University of Sydney. My address tonight begins with observations about the rise of many nations of the South – an outcome for which all of us committed to development work, and one which is well documented in this year’s global Human Development Report from UNDP.
That Report also makes a number of policy recommendations on issues which need to be addressed for the rise of the South to be sustained, and I will comment on those.
But I will argue that it is not just the South which is facing development challenges: a range of factors is impeding peace and progress more generally. That is why the post-2015 global development agenda which should follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) needs to be a single, unified, and universal agenda. It can be inspired by the five big transformative shifts in our thinking about development which have been advocated by the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on post-2015 The strengths of both the North and the South will need to be drawn on to advance it.
In July The Economist published an article titled “When giants slow down”, which argued that the dramatically rapid growth of emerging economies in the last two decades, particularly the BRICS, “marks the biggest economic transformation in modern history.”
But it also suggests that we have reached an “important inflection point” where “the emerging giants will grow larger, and their ranks will swell; but their tread will no longer shake the Earth as once it did.”
This image of giants treading the earth, and shaking it, is a powerful one; but also one which creates apprehension. I, however, take a positive view of the historic transformation which the rise of countries of the South represents and of how it contributes to the development of all countries.
Already we can see the impact of some of those contributions; for example:
• China lifted hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty, ensuring that Millennium Development Goal One on halving global poverty from 1990 levels by 2015 was met ahead of schedule. When China moves decisively to address a policy issue, the outcome is of global significance because of its scale. That will be as true for the reduction of its emissions of greenhouse gases as it has been for its rate of poverty reduction. It is also true that the demand for goods and services of China’s large and growing middle class is important for the growth of many economies, not least Australia’s.
• India’s generic drugs industry produced more than eighty per cent of the medicines used to treat AIDS in programmes supported by donor organizations like the Global Fund between 2003 and 2008. The sheer scale of the Indian generic drugs industry has helped make these essential medicines much more affordable, and hence more accessible.
• As host of Rio+20, the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, last year, Brazil had the geopolitical standing and respect to bring Member States together around an agreed outcome - which had proved elusive over months of negotiations. That has enabled the global sustainable development agenda to move forward.
The potential for emerging economies to make even bigger and more direct contributions to global development is also significant. A number of emerging powers are putting in place structures for new international development agencies: these include the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation and the South African Development Partnership Agency. Others are already very active in, or are expanding existing, South-South co-operation, which, not only in the form of grants and loans, but also through the exchange of knowledge, innovation, and best practice and through trade and investment is highly relevant to many developing countries.
Above and beyond all of that, the role which emerging economies and regions have played in the aftermath of the global financial crisis has been very significant. They have often carried the burden of global growth in recent years. In reality, as the 2013 HDR argues, the South and the North need each other to do well: “The North needs the most vigorous countries of the South to sustain demand for exported goods and services, especially as a number of their own economies are weakened by fierce austerity programmes. The South needs the North, not only as a mature market, but also as a source of innovation and complex technologies.” We can add the foreign direct investment of the South to that list too.
1. Tracking the Rise of the South
UNDP’s 2013 global Human Development Report, “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”, documents the transformation of a number of developing countries into dynamic economies with rising human development and with growing geopolitical influence.
These include the well-studied BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - and Turkey, Mexico, and a range of other emerging economies, including Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Viet Nam in this region. Successful policies in countries which had greater gains in terms of human development between 1990 and 2012 than would have been predicted from previous performance are highlighted in the Report. In a nutshell, the Report postulates that a combination of openness to trade and investment, pragmatic economic policy, and innovative and inclusive social policy has driven these proactive developmental states forward.
The Report finds that their dynamism was underpinned by an historic expansion of trade and investment, including within the South itself. Consider for example that:
• the South–South share of merchandise world trade increased from under eight per cent in 1980 to more than 25 per cent in 2011, with particularly remarkable growth happening in the last decade;
• Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the South destined for other countries in the South grew twenty per cent per annum between 1996 and 2009; and
• global foreign exchange reserves rose from $1.9 trillion in 2000 to $10.2 trillion in 2011, with emerging and developing countries accounting for $6.8 trillion. Similarly, about three-quarters of the $4.3 trillion in assets controlled by sovereign wealth funds worldwide are in the South.
The 2013 Report also documents the major advances in public health, education, transportation, telecommunications, and civic engagement which took place alongside the growth in the size of developing country economies. Internet use, for example, grew more than thirty per cent a year between 2000 and 2010 in around sixty developing countries.
These trends in emerging economies are contributing to a process of convergence in levels of human development between North and South – reflecting the faster growth in GDP per capita and the increased health and education provision in countries of the South. The Report argues, however, that: “the success of the South extends benefits to the North and advances prosperity of all.”
Australia itself is without doubt both a beneficiary of and a contributor to the rise of the South. This country’s positive trade performance over the last two decades (growing by 7.6 per cent per annum) is largely attributed to its economic relationship with a fast-growing Asia. Today, China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and Korea, Singapore, India, Thailand, and Malaysia are all among its top ten.
Looking ahead, the Report projects that by 2020 the combined economic output (in 1990 purchasing power parity dollars) of three key emerging economies alone– China, India, and Brazil – will surpass that of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada combined.
By 2030, eighty per cent of the world’s middle class will live in the South, with countries in South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific alone accounting for sixty per cent of this global middle class.
2. Sustaining the Rise of the South
The scale of the transformation in the emerging economies is of great significance, and can contribute immensely to global development. Before developing that theme though, let me reflect on the policy recommendations made by the 2013 Human Development Report priority areas for sustaining human development momentum in these countries. Some of these recommendations can be implemented at the national level, but others, like the need to tackle environmental degradation, need global action.
A. Managing Demographic Change:
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that the world’s population will reach 9.6 billion by 2050 – some 2.4 billion more inhabitants on our planet than there are today. This demographic trend is expected to be associated with rapid urbanization and ageing - both important considerations for development planning.
The 2013 Report notes that for many countries in the South with large populations of young people, the potential to benefit from a ‘demographic dividend’, as the share of the working-age population rises is significant. This will be fully realized, however, only if there is strong policy action, for instance, on girl’s education, and on creation of jobs and livelihoods for this largest ever generation of young people. Indeed, failure to deliver opportunity for youth can turn a potential dividend into potential for instability and disorder.
For other countries of the South, notably in East Asia, ageing populations and rising dependency ratios will require ambitious policies to generate greater productivity, through, for example, investments in education, and to meet the greater demand for social protection and support.
As urbanization also reshapes societies across the South, new development challenges and opportunities are arising. Last month while in China, I participated in the launch of the 2013 National Human Development Report, entitled “Sustainable and Liveable Cities: toward Ecological Civilization”. It argues that optimising urbanization – to create cities which are socially equitable, economically dynamic, and environmentally friendly – may entail a compromise between the quality and the scale of urbanization. Such an approach would be likely to lead to slower aggregate GDP growth than a rapid urbanization scenario would produce, but would also bring higher human development benefits in the form of better living conditions and a reduction in environment-related poor health outcomes.
Accommodating demographic pressures will also require a big increase in the availability of basic goods and services. The United States National Intelligence Council estimates that by 2030 there will be a need for 35 per cent more food, forty per cent more water, and fifty per cent more energy. The challenge is to meet those needs on an already climate-stressed planet without pushing it further towards its boundaries.
B. Confronting Environmental Pressures:
Confronting environmental pressures is therefore a closely related and critical policy priority identified in the 2013 Human Development Report. While environmental degradation has a broad impact, poor countries and poor communities are affected by it disproportionately.
UNDP’s 2011 global Human Development Report (HDR) on equity and sustainability produced a range of different scenarios for the future of human development, based on how much progress was made on combating inequality and environmental risks.
The report took into account, among other things, the impact of global warming on agricultural production; challenges related to water, sanitation, and pollution; and growing inequality and its consequences - such as a higher probability of intrastate conflict. The worst-case scenario would see human development progress slow to a crawl, and actually regress in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by 2050, which not only blights peoples’ lives and prospects, but also is not conducive to global peace and prosperity.
On this scenario, some 2.7 billion more people would live in extreme poverty. With bold and prompt policy action, however, much better outcomes are possible. Under an accelerated progress scenario modeled for the 2013 Report, there would be a rapid decline in the number of poor people and the near disappearance of poverty in some countries and regions. That surely is the scenario we would all wish to see materialize, but it will take concerted action by all countries to make it happen.
C. Promoting equity and fighting exclusion and discrimination
Greater equity and equality are not only important goals in their own right: they are also central to lifting human development, and vital for stability and sustainability.
An analysis of 132 developed and developing countries included in the 2013 Report finds an inverse relationship between inequality and improvements in human development. It argues that: “Growth has frequently been much more effective at reducing poverty in countries with low income inequality than in countries with high income inequality.”
Similar findings have been made by other researchers. In their 2009 book “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger”, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett demonstrated that more equal societies do better on most measures of human wellbeing, and that these benefits accrue not only to the poorest, but also to all segments of society.
The Report highlights examples of innovative programmes to tackle inequality and expand social protection which have helped improve conditions for the poor in the South, including the cash transfer programmes of Mexico and Brazil which have helped to narrow gaps in income, health, and education.
It also argues that one of the most powerful policy instruments for promoting equity – particularly gender and inter-generational equity – is education. Targeted investments in girls’ education have significant impacts on human development, including in the reduction of child mortality.
Building on such successes, and fighting exclusion and discrimination of all kinds, will be essential for sustaining human development progress in the South.
D. Enabling greater voice and participation of citizens in decision making
Finally, the Report argues that a key priority for sustaining momentum in the emerging nations is enabling greater participation of citizens in the decisions which impact on their lives.
Political freedoms are an integral part of human development as it was originally conceptualized by Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq. Enlarging people’s choices and capabilities requires systems of public discourse and political processes which respond to citizen demands effectively and fairly.
The Report argues that: “Governments that do not respond to citizens’ needs or widen opportunities for political participation risk losing their legitimacy.” The uprisings in the Arab States region perhaps illustrate this point.
More generally, many countries, rich and poor, including a number of the large emerging economies, have been experiencing significant levels of protest and discord. Citizens are complaining about decisions which they see impacting on them, but on which they had little or no say. The quality and responsiveness of governance is becoming a significant issue worldwide.
3. Moving forward on a renewed and universal global development agenda for all
It is not, however, only developing countries who will need to overcome constraints on future progress. Our world as a whole is facing major and intractable challenges including:
• Persistently high income inequality, inequality of opportunity, and other non-income disparities:
Equality was highlighted as a fundamental value in the United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2000, when world leaders acknowledged that: “in addition to our separate responsibilities to our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level.”
Yet little progress has been made in combating inequality in its various forms. Global income inequality stands at a very high level: eight per cent of the world’s population earn half the world’s income, with the remaining 92 per cent earning the other half. Such a distribution is rightly viewed by global civil society networks as unacceptably high, as it is both unjust and undermines development progress.
Evidence suggests that income inequality impedes long-term growth; is associated with poorer health outcomes; generates political instability and contributes to higher rates of violence, including for homicide; erodes social cohesion; and undermines the capacity for collective decision-making necessary for effective reform.
Beyond income inequality, gender-related discrimination, and inequalities related to geography, ethnicity, religion, age and disability – to name just a few - plague countries in both North and South, and are detrimental to all. Using the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, which takes into account not only the average achievements of a country on health, education, and income, but also their distribution, the 2013 Human Development Report concludes that the average loss to human development worldwide due to inequality was 23 per cent.
• Environmental degradation and climate change: These threaten the health and livelihoods of people around the globe. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, issued in September, considers new evidence and paints a grim picture for future prospects. It notes that: “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
• The jobs crisis: The ILO estimates that more than 34 million workers lost their jobs with the onset of the recession of 2008, and an additional 185 million workers joined the ranks of the working poor who subsist on under US $2 dollars a day. Despite a moderate pick-up in output growth expected for 2013–14, the number of unemployed worldwide is projected to rise by 5.1 million in 2013 to more than 202 million, and by another three million in 2014. Six hundred million more jobs are needed over the next fifteen years just to keep unemployment rates at their current level.
• War and Conflict: The World Bank estimates that more than one and a half billion people around the world are living in countries affected by armed conflict and fragility. The toll of that is heaviest on the citizens of the country directly affected, but there are broader spill over effects for neighbours and globally.
Without co-ordination around refugee flows, for example, the burden falls disproportionately on bordering countries, and can be economically and politically destabilizing. That is a reason for solidarity right now with the small nations of Jordan and Lebanon where Syrian refugees are forming significant proportions of their populations.
As well, scarce resources needed for development are impacted on by the scale of humanitarian relief required to save life and limb where there is conflict and sometimes by the huge cost of peacekeeping forces. The budget for UN Peacekeeping operations for July 2013 – July 2014 is about US$7.54 billion. The force in Darfur alone costs US$1.36 billion per annum, in DRC US$1.46 billion, and over half a billion US dollars each in Haiti, the Ivory Coast, and South Sudan – the list goes on.
The cost of organized crime and of violence and citizen insecurity also has to be factored in. Many countries have precious resources diverted from development to law and order enforcement. Funding more comprehensive and developmental approaches to tackling these problems is the subject of a forthcoming UNDP Human Development Report for Latin America.
Taken together, the big challenges facing us as a global community call for a shift in the way we think about and do development: one which brings together economic and social progress with environmental sustainability, and specifically recognises the role of peace and security, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender-equality, and human rights – as the leaders of UN members states agreed at the UN Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals in September.
The absolute size of the emerging economies and their populations and the interconnectedness and universal nature of global challenges mean that the full engagement of both the North and the South are needed on new pathways to development which are sustainable and inclusive.
It was very encouraging to see the statement of the Premier of China, Li Keqiang, at the World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian in September, in which he asserted that China is already working on its to transition to a more equitable and sustainable path:
“As the economy enters a phase of transformation, the slowdown of its prospective growth and moderation of the Chinese economy from a high speed to a medium to high speed are only natural. Moreover, China's growth in the coming years should be predicated on higher quality and efficiency, bolstered by resource conservation and environment protection, and driven by technological innovation and advance. It has to be a growth with sufficient employment and growing household income. In other words, we need to ensure the fruits of reform and development benefit as many people as possible.”
This emphasis on ensuring that development benefits all people and is environmentally sustainable should be welcomed. Indeed many citizens from across the North and South are calling on their governments to think beyond GDP growth and address the broader dimensions of human and sustainable development.
What People Want: A Call for Transformational Change
In recent months protests have spread across a number of major emerging economies. In general, living standards have been lifting in those countries, and the middle class is growing in size. But perhaps expectations and aspirations rise even faster than living standards, and governments are being held to account more often for their decisions.
Former President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, commenting on the protests in his own country in the New York Times has written that: “Many analysts attribute recent protests to a rejection of politics. I think it’s precisely the opposite: They reflect a drive to increase the reach of democracy, to encourage people to take part more fully.”
Protests around the world have been sparked by a range of grievances. Some originally focused on environmental issues, and others on poor job prospects, particularly for youth; food and fuel price spikes; issues of corruption; and/or failures to ensure citizen security, including in protecting women from sexual violence. Yet there has been a common thread running between them all: concern over the performance of governments.
In the Wall Street Journal in June, Francis Fukuyama suggested that: “the theme that connects recent events in Turkey and Brazil to each other, as well as to the 2011 Arab Spring and continuing protests in China, is the rise of a new global middle class. He goes on to say that: “Even when [the protestors] live in countries that hold regular democratic elections, they feel alienated from the ruling political elite.”
Other editorials by scholars and policy-makers have echoed this view that there is a growing global middle class with high expectations for better public services and more accountable and transparent governance.
Although I agree that concerns over poor governance link these protests, this is not merely a ‘middle class’ priority. The profile of many of the protesters – younger, more educated, and wealthier, with access to modern technologies and social media to help mobilize them – is distinct; but the call for change and for better and more responsive governance is more universal, across developing and developed countries.
The latter have also seen their share of outrage on the streets at the consequences of poor economic performance and its impacts on jobs and social provision. In democratic countries, democratic mechanisms and institutions provide some shock absorption – in the end, governments can be changed at the ballot box; but the contexts within which many governments are operating now are such that new governments often quickly become as unpopular as those they replaced.
This perhaps points to more fundamental problems in the body politic around the world. Each country faces the fallout from the global challenges, but there are limits to what nations acting alone can do to mitigate the impact. That is why we need renewed, energetic, multilateralism which enjoys high levels of legitimacy. To lift legitimacy requires significant reform to global governance, but that is perhaps the topic for another lecture.
Over the past year, the UN has been facilitating a very large global conversation, on what the post-2015 development agenda to follow the Millennium Development Goals should look like. Big efforts were made to reach out to people in every corner of the planet, including the poorest and most marginalized who seldom have the opportunity to be heard in a global debates.
More than 300,000 people engaged in face-to-face meetings in 88 countries, and the “My World Survey” reached more than one million people in 194 countries and territories through ICTs and through conventional means facilitated by civil society partners.
From these one million voices, we have heard a strong call for change which resembles many of the calls on the streets of towns and cities around the world.
People have told us that they want governments which can deliver decent public services, manage natural resources sustainably and fairly, and promote human security and dignity, including through decent work.
They want governments to work to reduce inequalities between women and men, rural and urban areas, ethnic and religious groups, rich and poor, and on all other dimensions.
In every region of the world, “honest and responsive government” was consistently ranked among the top priorities for people. Such governance is an important development outcome in its own right, as well as being a critical enabler for achieving other goals, including eradicating poverty and improving the well-being of all citizens.
While policymakers often deal with issues in silos, citizens don’t. They see the links between poverty and a degraded environment, and between peace and justice, citizen security, strong communities, and effective institutions.
They want the complex challenges our world faces tackled in an integrated way and expect their governments, in partnership with other stakeholders, to take bold measures.
Governments should listen to these voices and set an ambitious post-2015 development agenda which is universal and meets the shared aspirations of people around the world.
Setting a bold, universal and integrated development agenda
The Report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Post-2015, co-chaired by the Presidents of Indonesia, and Liberia and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom calls for a “paradigm shift” in development, leading to a profound structural transformation to overcome the obstacles to sustained prosperity.
It is critical to note that the transformations they propose apply to all countries. We are all in this together. This is not a time for hubris in any quarter. If our neighbour is poor, we may not necessarily be poor too, but we will certainly be poorer than we otherwise would be. If others are experiencing war and conflict, the ripple effects can be felt by citizens around world – attacks like those on New York’s Twin Towers, the London underground, Madrid’s commuter trains, and Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall are testimony to that. If the planet’s carrying capacity is nearing its limits on current modes of production and consumption, something has to change. This is why new ways of looking at development must see it as a shared challenge for the global community.
Taking this thinking further, the High Level Panel suggests five big transformative shifts in our thinking, planning, and action:
(a) Leave no one behind
This speaks to the corrosive effects and basic injustice of high levels of inequality – and to the unfinished business of the MDGs. Meeting the global target of halving the proportion of people who live in extreme poverty from 1990 levels by 2015 still leaves one billion extremely poor people – many of whom are also hungry and experiencing other aspects of the many faces of poverty.
This gross inequality is not sustainable if we have a vision for global peace and prosperity. It undermines stability: in extremis it is explosive. It limits the potential of individuals and whole nations. It is of great concern not only to global civil society organizations and advocates, but also now in the Davos and other circles of global business who see the potential for instability and setbacks if inequality is not reduced.
(b) Putting sustainable development at the core of the new agenda
The world has been talking about this since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, but there has been too little action. Too often sustainable development has been thought of by many as being at odds with the critical objective of poverty eradication. The time has come for policy approaches which lift people’s prospects without wrecking the planet. We need a new global agreement on climate, massive investments in the infrastructure required for a green economy, and changes in the way we produce and consume.
(c) Transforming economies for jobs and inclusive growth
This shift is related to the previous two: inequality will be reduced by job- and livelihood-rich strategies. The green economy shift can be a vehicle for that, with its potential to generate new jobs, goods and services, exports, and growth.
(d) Build peace and effective, open, and accountable public institutions
This shift is getting traction from the global conversation about post-2015, and now from the outcome of the UN Special Event on the MDGs. The blunt truth is that development can’t get traction in countries ravaged by conflict and where the rule of law is not established. It will be suboptimal where weak and corrupt governance persists. We need to be investing in catalytic ways in the drivers of peace and social cohesion, and in the rule of law and the capacity for effective and honest governance.
(e) Forge a new global partnership
This partnership needs to inspire governments – national and local, the international organizations, civil society, the private foundations, the academic and research communities, and the private sector.
Further development breakthroughs will need the expertise, innovations, and contributions of countries from North and South. While the “common but differentiated” responsibility to fund and to act on issues like climate change and official development assistance will continue to apply, the rising South should also, in the words of the 2013 Human Development Report: “assume more responsibility on the global stage, in line with its increasing economic power and political clout.”
This could include allocation of more of the South’s substantial reserves for development – the HDR calculates that allocating just three per cent of liquid international reserves of the nine G20 emerging economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia would lift public investment in those countries to 4.1 – 11.7 per cent of GDP, close to the average level of public investment for all developing countries.
But it should also include sharing the South’s ideas, experiences, and innovations. There are many successes, for example, in social inclusion driven by the South – including on social protection and restoring hope in marginalized communities.
The South is also playing a leading role in redefining development co-operation – away from the narrowness of aid effectiveness and towards the broader concept of development effectiveness. The UN’s Development Co-operation Forum ensures equal consideration of development perspectives from North and South, and there are efforts to bring traditional donors and South-South co-operation partners together in the Global Partnership for Development Effectiveness created at the OECD’s Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in late 2011.
There is a big role for multilateral institutions to play in co-ordinating new global partnerships, and playing a convening role for and networking across stakeholders. Those stakeholders are not just governments – the future legitimacy of the multilateral institutions will also depend on the quality of their engagement with citizen networks and communities. This is exactly what the one million voices global conversation facilitated by the UN on post-2015 has been about. Having spoken, however, people do expect to be listened to on what their priorities are – and there are high expectations that the input will be reflected in the post-2015 agenda.
Nor can the role of the private sector cannot be understated. Its capacity to invest, employ, innovate, create space in value chains for micro-business and SMEs, and operate in environmentally responsible ways are of immense significance to global development. This is why the UN has reached out through its Global Compact and other initiatives to engage the private sector in development.
In summary, as the High Level Panel report suggests: “Perhaps the most important transformative shift is towards a new spirit of solidarity, co-operation, and mutual accountability that must underpin the post-2015 agenda. A new partnership should be based on a common understanding of our shared humanity, underpinning mutual respect and mutual benefit in a shrinking world.”
Let me end by drawing some conclusions from the lecture:
• The rise of the South in economic and geo-political terms is transformational, and has the potential to make even greater contributions to human and sustainable development.
• Our future prospects will depend on the extent to which leaders and citizens in North and South are committed to following more sustainable and inclusive development paths. This will require bold action at the local, national, regional, and global levels. It also calls for agreement around a transformational, universal, and holistic development agenda.
• The contributions the South is making – intellectual, economic, social, environmental, and political – are numerous, and are critical for accelerating progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals and for shaping the post-2015 agenda. So too are the continuing contributions of the countries of the North, which is why a return to economic good health for their economies is so vital.
• I am optimistic that extended global partnerships around a transformational agenda can change the course of history - to overcome gross inequality, lack of enough paid work and livelihoods, ecosystem depletion, poor governance, and war and conflict. Without a bold agenda and effective multilateralism, prospects would be poor indeed – but it doesn’t have to be that way. The exercise of responsible sovereignty and global citizenship, which recognises that we are more likely to find solutions by working together than through separate actions by nations, sectors, and organizations, is a way forward.