We are at a key moment for shaping the future of international development. Momentum is building around an ambitious and integrated post-2015 development agenda that will target eradicating extreme poverty through sustainable development.
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron was honoured to have been invited by the UN Secretary-General to co-chair the High-Level Panel for the post-2015 agenda, alongside President Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Sirleaf of Liberia, and he is proud of the Panel’s report, which sets out measurable goals and ambitious targets for the international community to rally around.
With that in mind, the UK strongly welcomes the Secretary-General’s report, “A Life of Dignity for All”, which champions the powerful message of “leaving no one behind”. I believe gender must be a key focus for any successful post-2015 framework for eradicating poverty. I welcome the Secretary General’s words on maintaining the momentum - and the pressing need to go further on equality for girls and women.
I am also pleased to see the Secretary-General’s call for a development agenda that focuses on poverty eradication and puts sustainable development at its core and I welcome the clear recognition that peace and stability, human rights and effective governance are development outcomes, not just enablers.
So we are in a good place for building a powerful set of successor goals to the MDGs - but we know promises and words will mean nothing, unless they are backed up by strong monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
The High Level Political Forum, as envisaged at Rio, should be at the heart of this. It has a crucial role to play in reviewing progress, holding us to account for our promises, building cooperation and, above all, providing political will and leadership at the highest level.
It is hugely important that all voices are represented in the Forum. For all their strengths the MDGs could feel as if they were imposed by the developed world on developing nations.
Now we have an opportunity to ensure the post-2015 framework isn’t something that happens to the poorest and most marginalised – but is something they are part of. I believe that only by really engaging with and listening to these voices can we tackle the root causes of poverty. And only by ensuring that civil society, businesses and citizens themselves are able to play a full part, will we create the new global partnership that is critical to implementing the post-2015 development agenda.
Finally one other aspect of the post-2015 framework I want to very briefly touch on today is the need for a data revolution. One of the key recommendations coming out of both the High Level Panel and the Secretary General’s report is that no target should be considered ‘achieved’ unless it is achieved for everyone, whatever their gender, income or social group. This means that, collectively, we need to gather better data and use it to ensure no one is left behind. The UK is keen to lead the way on this – for example we have launched a Development Tracker website that tracks this British development money as it’s spent.
The task ahead of us is daunting but it’s also a huge opportunity. And it is right that we are being ambitious. I hope there will be no let up, no watering down of tricky issues as the world comes together to decide on the post-2015 development goals, so when we meet again there are no regrets that we could have gone further. And, once the goals are agreed, this Forum must play an essential role in reviewing and driving forward their implementation.