UN High Level Panel press statements

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Prime Minister David Cameron, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia spoke at Downing Street.

Prime Minister David Cameron

Good evening, everybody. Let me start by welcoming my co-chairs, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, to Downing Street today. I am very grateful to them and the other High Level Panel members for travelling to London for this second meeting of the Panel to discuss the future of the development agenda.

We had a lively, constructive and very productive set of discussions and I want to make three points about the conclusions we reached.

First, we agreed that the principle aim of the Panel should be to focus on finishing the job of ending extreme poverty. We think the Millennium Development Goals have made great progress. There is more progress to be made between now and 2015, but we are clear the next stage should be aiming to eradicate absolute poverty in our world. That is something politicians have been talking about for a while, but for the first time I believe this generation really has the opportunity to do it.

Second, we discussed how we might press on and tackle the causes of poverty as well as its symptoms. For me, that means rights for women and minorities, a free media, integrity in government and the freedom to participate in society. It means paying real attention to what I call the ‘golden thread’ of the conditions that help move people and countries from poverty to wealth. The absence of conflict and corruption, the presence of the rule of law, property rights, strong institutions: those are the things that can help us build more prosperous countries, more prosperous societies.

Now, the UK is clear that this new approach will help create the conditions in which open societies and open economies are able to thrive. Because it’s only when people have a job and a voice that they can take control of their own destiny and build a future free from poverty.

Now, third, on the Panel, we are absolutely clear that we need to listen. We don’t have all the answers, so we will listen to the views of civil society, of the private sector, of young people, but above all we need to listen and learn from the people whose lives are blighted by poverty and injustice on a daily basis. That is why we’re using some of the latest technology to ensure that no [indistinct]. Seventeen thousand young Ugandans have said that what matters to them most is getting a job. We are putting cameras in the hands of the poorest so that their stories can inform our debate.

I am very proud of the role Britain has played in the fight against global poverty. We will live up to that reputation in the years ahead. We have a unique opportunity to be the generation that eradicates absolute poverty and I am confident that, alongside my two co-chairs, we will be able to propose a clear, bold, and ambitious set of goals that helps to achieve this.

President Yudhoyono

Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. Ladies and gentlemen, let me add a few thoughts to what Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Yes, the second meeting of the High Level Panel went well and our exchanges of views were very productive. We discussed thoroughly the common visions of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda.

Based on the lessons learned from the MDGs and new challenges that the world [indistinct], we managed to identify key questions. Those key questions should guide the Panel in outlining the elements of its final report. They should, among others, address questions such as: what do we want; and what do we need; how do we get there; and how do we track progress?

We have also exchanged views on how to strengthen our effort in creating a world without poverty. I believe that poverty eradication can only be achieved by raising the living standard of poor around the world. This can be done through creating jobs opportunities and providing accessible and affordable health services, education facilities, housing, clean water, and sanitation.

For Indonesia’s part, we would incorporate sustainable growth [indistinct] into the post-2015 development agenda. [indstinct] we want to ensure that the fruits from economic growth is shared among the people and inclusive growth rests in the principle that all people should have access to decent jobs and economic opportunities.

Through sustainability, we want to guarantee that economic growth does not jeopardise the environment. We must ensure that the present generation meets their needs without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.

Since we have only six months ahead of us to deliver the final report, the Panel agreed to intensify the discussion by encouraging the involvement of various stakeholders and to gain wider audiences to our process. On that note, I would like to encourage the media to assist us in capturing the diversity of ideas in the local community that are truly valuable as input for our [indistinct].

I thank you.

President Johnson Sirleaf

I am honoured to be one of the co-chairs and to join the other four representatives from the Africa region in participating in the formulation of the post-2015 global development agenda.

As one of the regions, Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, which has fallen behind in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, we see the necessity, not only to accelerate our effort in these remaining three years to achieve as many of those goals as possible, but to build upon them in fashioning the new agenda, an agenda that is going to put poverty at the centre of the objective, but addressing other concerns such as peace and security to reduce the vulnerability and fragility that exists in many of our countries; to be able to take care of the young people to represent their voices; to make sure that youth employment [indistinct], one of the most disturbing and concerning conditions of poverty in our country, that those are fully taken into account.

Our process is to represent the [indistinct] of our people, to build a consensus around a very rigorous consultation in which the voices, not only of those in authority, but also the civil society, the private sector and others in formulating this vision. We are pleased that today a consensus was reached around these and that the processes that will lead forward, that we’ll be embarking upon within the next several months will lead us to an agenda in which everyone can reflect and see in it something for themselves: that they can see their own ownership and their input in this, not only in terms of how it will affect their lives, but how they too in an interrelated world will be able to affect the lives of others in their region and beyond.

Today’s meeting was very, very participatory, very rich, bringing together the diverse groups of panel members that have served and achieved so much in their areas. And so we are looking forward to the next few months. [indistinct]. The timing is very short, having to produce a report in a short period. [indistinct] I think that the interests that have come, those that have so endorsed and embraced this idea, we just want to think that this is going to end up as something that is going to make a big difference and enhance the livelihood and the welfare of all mankind.

And we would like to express our appreciation to the Prime Minister and to the President for helping to lead this effort.