Speech

Speech by H.E. Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, at the United Nations MDG-Summit in New York

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Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

The Millennium Development Goals are critical to our global effort to meet the challenges posed by poverty, disease and conflict.

Since their adoption 10 years ago, the world has undergone significant changes. Yet the goals are as important as ever. Despite the emergence of a new global landscape, they remain a common reference point for our joint effort to create a better tomorrow for the poorest and most vulnerable.

At this High Level Meeting, we have reaffirmed our resolve to meet and achieve the MDG’s by 2015. This is a strong message after a period of global crisis which has affected all of us. We have learned that business as usual is no longer good enough. And this lesson is just as relevant when it comes to the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals. Luckily, we now know what works and what does not work. Therefore, we must all focus on implementation during the remaining five years.

The private sector is instrumental to creating sustainable economic growth and employment. Without private sector-driven growth, we will not be successful in eradicating poverty or mobilizing the necessary domestic resources for education, health and other social services.

We must ensure that the benefits of growth reach the poor. That it generates freedom and opportunities for individuals to change their lives. This is particularly important in Africa.

In 2008, Denmark established the Africa Commission with the participation of African leaders and key stakeholders. The Commission underlined the importance of growth and employment, particularly for young people who represent a huge untapped resource. Based on the work of Commission, Denmark is doubling its support for private sector development in Africa.


To move this agenda forward, I was honored to co-sponsor an event on Inclusive Growth and Employment in Africa this morning with the President of Liberia and the Prime Minister of Tanzania. Our geographic and economic point of departure might be different. But we see eye to eye on the importance of inclusive economic growth that generates employment.

The international community must also acknowledge that conflict is a barrier to development. In many areas affected by conflict, achieving long-term development and economic growth remains a distant goal, full of barriers and risks of setbacks.


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We are sending a clear message at this summit: “Women are agents of development”. Equality and equal opportunities for women is a vital engine for economic and social development. There is no chance of achieving the MDG’s without a strengthened focus on women’s empowerment.

If women are to make use of their full potential, they must be able to decide freely if and when they want children. And they must have access to health services when giving birth. Denmark supports developing countries in the realization of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Developing countries must take responsibility for their own development, I am pleased that many developing countries have turned the MDG’s into national targets.

At the same time, donor countries must live up to their commitments. Denmark is one of only five countries that exceeds the target of 0,7 % of GNI for Official Development Assistance. We will continue to work to ensure that our aid achieves results and makes a difference. This requires focus and a willingness to prioritize our development cooperation.

Our global partnership is constantly evolving. New actors are emerging. We are seeing increased south-south cooperation and public-private collaboration. And we have witnessed how private foundations have shown the way on important development issues. We must ensure that all these efforts are directed towards the same goal – the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have gained valuable experience over the last ten years. The challenge has been clearly defined. We have five years left. We have to do it right and we have to start today. Denmark stands ready to do its part.

Thank you.