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25 September 2013 - Event on the Millennium Development Goals - Statement by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, attached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs


As everyone knows, we have fewer than 1,000 days left to make further progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but also to define the agenda that will succeed them. The [UN] Secretary-General’s report shows us the direction to follow. France fully shares this vision.

So our first imperative is to achieve the MDGs.

These goals have greatly contributed to the unprecedented progress made since 2000 in the fight against poverty.

In the two years until 2015, the acceleration of progress towards the MDGs must remain our priority. We can and must do better by increasing the impact of our action.

France is striving to do this by taking a threefold approach:

— Firstly, concentrating its assistance on the countries furthest from achieving the MDGs. Hence the increased concentration of French aid to the least developed countries.

— France is also focusing on issues with a strong leverage effect. This is the case with respect for fundamental rights, without which the right to development remains only theoretical. It’s the case with the emancipation of women.

— Our third approach aims to ensure both universal access to basic services and their quality, which is too often neglected. In the health field, thanks to the revenue from the French financial transaction tax, we’re launching an initiative to give two million children free access to healthcare. We’ll thus help reduce infant mortality. Thanks to innovative financing, we’re releasing new resources for development.

These efforts to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs are obviously essential. But we know they won’t be enough to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. That’s why we must already be thinking about the post-2015 period. And our ambition must be to achieve the total eradication of extreme poverty by 2030. In recent decades our world has experienced an unprecedented increase in wealth enabling us to say that what was once a utopia is today within our grasp.

However, we’ll manage to eradicate poverty only if we can to adopt sustainable development models. Today, the main threat to development is climate change. A world 4ºC warmer is a world where agricultural output falls, where food security is no longer guaranteed and where infant mortality therefore increases.

It’s not about choosing between sustainable development and the fight against poverty. We won’t manage to achieve one without the other. The single agenda isn’t an ideological matter, it’s an imperative in order to be effective.

This new agenda will have to be universal. Our collective mobilization will enable us to invent new modes of production and consumption that will offer a decent life to nine billion human beings within the physical confines of our planet. (…) Everyone must participate in this collective effort in accordance with their abilities, and the richest countries will, more than ever, have to show solidarity: solidarity between developed countries and developing countries, and solidarity too within our societies.

Today we’re embarking on a tremendous adventure: that of defining a common agenda for lasting, shared prosperity. That agenda is ambitious. It’s imperative.

I thank you./.

Learn more on the Millennium Development Goals.

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