Mr John Ash, President of the General Assembly,
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for hosting this meeting. The Millennium Development Goals put in motion one of the broadest social and political movements ever witnessed in human history.
We have 820 days remaining to reach the MDGs. It is our joint responsibility to do everything we can to accelerate progress.
And as we plan the way forward for the next generation of development goals, lets learn from our MDG experience. Allow me to share some of the lessons we have learned, focusing on MDG 1.
First: ending hunger and extreme poverty is not only a possibility. It is an obligation, a duty of the state, a responsibility of every citizen.
According to FAO’s latest figures, almost 40 countries have already met the MDG hunger target. 80 others are on track. They show that it can be done.
Partnerships have proven to be key. We have achieved better results whenpeople chose to take decisive action: politicians, farmers, activists, business people, scientists and engineers, women and men from all walks of life.
Governments need to be at the helm of this process, but ending hunger and extreme poverty requires the decision and action of an entire society.
The second lesson we have learned is that the rural poor are not the problem, but a major part of the solution to hunger.
Over 70 percent of the world’s food insecure live in rural areas. But these same people already produce most of the food consumed in developing countries.
Sometimes, all that they need is a small push forward or a buffer on which to fall back on during hard times. Let’s support them. And let’s link social protection with productive incentives. This combination brings about additional benefits and can help spur local economic growth.
Third, we need to make our food systems more efficient, productive, sustainable, and fair. We need to shift to more inclusive and sustainable approaches in both production and consumption. And to do this, we need to demonstrate how sustainability benefits producers and consumers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Time has come for one final, concentrated and coordinated push to meet the MDGs. And we cannot stop there. We need to carry that momentum forward, working to reach even bolder goals, as laid out by the UN Secretary General in the Zero Hunger Challenge.
If we open our minds to new ideas, new partners, new ways of acting, we can and will eradicate poverty and hunger in our lifetimes.
Thank you very much.