German Chancellor Angela Merkel Speaks at UN General Assembly on Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals remain valid and must continue to be implemented rigorously, even if all of them will not be achieved by 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel said today in New York at the United Nations General Assembly dedicated to assessing progress toward the goals. “This should be the central commitment of this summit,” Merkel said. Germany sees its role in development cooperation as supporting developing countries’ own efforts. The Chancellor called for a stronger results-oriented approach in development aid. Most importantly, Merkel said, development as well as economic and social progress are only achievable with good governance and respect for human rights.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000 has given international development policy a qualitatively new basis and legitimacy. It is a ground breaking strategic decision which placed the much touted global development partnership on one common basis. It has shown that we can only fight poverty, disease and hunger sucessfully through a new partnership between donor and recipient countries and a clear definition of targets.
Supported by universal principles the Declaration is the framework, for how we shape globalization equitably, in the spirit of the UN Human Rights Charta.
It sets out four areas in which action must be taken:
* peace and security
* poverty reduction,
* protection of the environment and
* promotion of human rights, democracy and good governance.
The Millennium Development Goals, spell out these areas in concrete terms and represent the central international reference for development policy. The German Federal Government has also based its development policy on these goals thus strengthening the collective effort of all.
Sustainable progress on development requires that all four challenges are tackled, as they are mutually dependent. I am firmly convinced, therefore, that the Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals must not be interpreted as a kind of menu from which you can chose what you like best.
No development without security and no security without development – this mutual dependence we see everywhere.
Development policy measures cannot be effective without security, and in turn peacekeeping efforts will lead to nothing if there are no development prospects. This shows how right the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was when he said: “Development policy is an investment in a secure future.”
Most importantly however, sustainable development as well as economic and social progress are unthinkable without good governance and respect for human rights.
This sounds simple in theory, but it is more difficult to translate into practical consequences.
Ten years ago, the international community adopted the right goals. Unfortunately, today we have to admit that we will not achieve all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The goals remain valid, however, and must be implemented rigorously. This should be the central commitment of this summit.
Noticeable progress has been made on certain individual Millennium Development Goals. For example some progress has been made on basic education, gender equality and also on combating hunger. However, hunger and malnutrition still prevail at an unacceptably high level.
We still see considerable differences, both in the achievement of individual goals and at regional level. Particularly in parts of sub-Saharan there are serious gaps.
The global economic and financial crisis made the prospects even worse for the vulnerable regions.
But what can, indeed must we do to make greater progress?
There is no doubt that we must further improve the effectiveness of development policy instruments.
For me, the solution is obvious. We need more results orientation. In this regard I think results-based financing is a promising approach.
Here, clear results orientation can be combined with greater leeway for national policies. This allows for better accommodation of the relevant country’s particularities.
There is one thing that we all have to accept: The primary responsibility for development lies with the governments of the developing countries. It is in their hands
whether aid can be effective. Therefore, support to good governance is as important as aid itself.
Today’s emerging economies show that development policy can ultimately only be successful if there is national stewardship and national implementation.
This also applies to mobilizing the necessary resources. ODA funding can, apart from emergency situations, only be a contribution to national resources, never a substitute for them.
Development aid cannot continue indefinitely. The task is therefore to use limited resources as effectively as possible. This can only work through good governance which taps that country’s economic potential.
The countries themselves must promote the development of a market economy, the setting up and expansion of SMEs and the strengthening of rural areas. And there is an encouraging number of good projects.
For without self-sustaining economic growth developing countries will find the road out of poverty and hunger too steep to travel.
Without sustainable growth the Millenium Development Goals cannot be achieved; indeed not even the current level of progress can be maintained.
This is why Germany sees its role in development cooperation as a responsible supporter of countries’ own efforts within a broad-based partnership.
We in Germany know where our strengths lie, but we also know our limits. It is obvious that global problems call for global efforts.
One example is the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria, a multilateral instrument which has proven itself. The help of the Fund reaches people directly. Germany is the third-largest donor and I will work for continuing to support the Fund and promote efforts to improve global health at a high level.
The implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals depend on effective international organizations.
That effectiveness is what people all over the world use as a yardstick for the United Nations. It is up to us, the Member States of the United Nations, to make the UN fit for the challenges of this century.
For that reason Germany will continue to work resolutely for UN reform.
For us, because of its universality and the resulting legitimation, the UN is the central forum for international cooperation.
Germany is the third-largest contributor to the UN budget. We are also third among donors of development aid. Even during the financial crisis we have not reduced our aid budget. Germany continues to strive to achieve the target of 0,7% of ODA as a percentage of GNI.
We see ourselves as a reliable partner to the UN, convinced that understanding among nations can only succeed if cooperation is based on equality and equal rights for all countries.
With this in mind let me reaffirm Germany’s commitment and responsibility as part of the collective responsibility of the international community.