20 09 2010 - New York
Address by President Josipović at the Millennium Development Goals Summit
Distinguished Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ten years ago was a historic moment for the United Nations. In adopting the Millennium Declaration, 189 member states took the decisive step to address the fundamental problem of unequal global development. By laying the foundations for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world, our collective vision was to redress this inequality, and to offer hope to the world.
United at the Millennium Summit, we set ourselves concrete time-bound goals in specific areas to enable sustainable development for the benefit of us all.
We clearly committed ourselves to implement the Millennium Development Goals before 2015, by which we would eradicate hunger, poverty, address maternal, infant mortality, and diseases. For this we needed to eliminate gender inequality, create a universal right to primary education, and prevent further environmental degradation.
The Millennium Declaration as a roadmap for the 21st century, laid the foundation for global partnership for development. At that point, we subscribed to a new pact of global partnership for development between developed and developing countries. We promised to create a conducive environment to enable implementation of the MDGs.
This partnership was to be fostered by a spirit of shared responsibility and solidarity, by which the developed world on its part, pledged to make available and transfer requisite knowledge and resources to meet development needs. Developing countries resolved themselves to apply assistance in a rational and effective manner, so as to enable their populations to gradually free themselves from abject and inhuman conditions of poverty.
Under the Declaration, each member state became accountable at the national level and assumed collectively responsibility at the global level. It is very clear today, that we are witnesses to the fact that these obligations are increasingly indivisible and interdependent.
Despite significant achievements during ten years of implementation, the Secretary-General and others have rightly highlighted that, where progress has been made, it has been only partial and sporadic.
Today’s meeting to assess what it will take in the remaining five years to achieve the MDGs, is taking place under completely new circumstances. Moreover, we must factor into our deliberations, trends that are seriously impeding our efforts.
In the wake of the global economic, financial, food and energy crises, together with the increasing negative impact of climate change, not only has further progress of the MDGs been jeopardized, but maintaining existing levels of progress have been called into question. Therefore, as world leaders, it is incumbent on us all to spare no efforts, in preventing the global economic crisis from evolving into a development crisis. We must use this opportunity to find a viable way, out as well as reinvigorate the global partnership, so as to deliver on those promises we made to the worlds poor and vulnerable.
In today’s world, not one country has escaped the negative impacts of the global economic crisis. This crisis, which has affected us all with such extraordinary speed, has produced consequences which we will have to bear for a significant time to come. I am convinced that the “boom era” is for over for good. At this point, each and everyone one of us has become increasingly aware of the interdependent world we live in today. National crises have evolved into global crises, and likewise, global problems have spilled over into national arenas. Moreover, despite being on track globally to meet the poverty-related MDG targets, poverty levels are on the rise, even in those countries where poverty was not previously prevalent. These signs serve as an important warning not to further derail from our collective promises. We must not allow this global crisis either to threaten or restrict fundamental human rights. Even the slightest shortfall in the implementation of the MDGs, which encompass all basic human rights, will mean that we did not succeed. I am convinced this is not the message we wish to come out of this gathering.
Over the last two years especially in the developed world, substantial efforts have been made towards curtailing the decline of national GDPs, and to create preconditions for initiating a new cycle for development. Stabilizing financial institutions, re-instigating money flows, gradual embarking on long-term structural reforms of all financial institutions, are being undertaken with the aim of stimulating new development.
However, this process is not immune from serious social implications. Despite our commitment under to the MDGs to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work for all, current trends of unemployment that are affecting all countries irrespective of their level of development, are being contained exceptionally slowly. Furthermore, social stresses on populations have not been averted, and structural reforms at the national level are painful and often unacceptable to their populations. Citizens are becoming poorer by the day and are experiencing increasing difficulties in adapting to the new paradigms of their daily lives. Older generations are losing their battle to remain employed, while young people are abandoning hope of ever starting a job.
All these trends about which much more could be said, especially at the national level, are currently hindering our global efforts. Consequently, these new circumstances make it all the more important that, we reach agreement here as to how best implement the MDGs in the future. In my mind, this is imperative for this meeting.
Under these complicated circumstances, Croatia remains fully committed to the full implementation of the MDGs at the national and global level. By virtue of the world’s current global character, Croatia is fully aware that the consequences of falling short on the Millennium agenda, will impact all parts of the world. In this day and age, we can never dismiss the possibility that these could become part of our future legacies. Today, where our futures are so indivisible, solidarity must become the central tenet of our behavior at all levels of society.
Consequently, Croatia has approached implementation of the MDGs with strong resolve, despite the difficulties that have evolved over the last decade. To date, we have prepared two implementation reports, and this year we compiled an overview of our achievements to date. A summary of which is now available, including at this meeting. To this end, I would like to highlight the context under which progress has been made in Croatia by way of contribution to our deliberations.
Croatia, as the whole of Europe, is contending with multiple economic difficulties that have caused growth and development rates to decline. As such, national efforts to advance the MDGs are being undertaken under challenging circumstances. It is no longer as simple to secure domestic and foreign resources to invest in vital projects targeted towards education, health, environmental protection and employment. It is also difficult to substantively stimulate the private sector as an important catalyst for development. In particular, Croatia is attempting to use the MDGs as an additional engine to stimulate comprehensive and sustainable development. As such, we do not view the MDGs as eight individual tasks, but rather as a mutually complementing set of multi-dimensional goals.
However, I am confident that Croatia will soon become the twenty-eighth member of the European Union. On its path of transformation, and driven by European ideals, Croatia has invested significant effort and resources to date, especially towards implementing the MDGs.
From a war-torn country with a destroyed economy in transition, Croatia embarked on a path of difficult recovery which has lasted eighteen years. Although Croatia’s starting point for implementing the MDGs was not as hard, in comparison to the world’s least developed countries. It was nevertheless, very challenging for us. We dealt with numerous problems, and by our own efforts, we began a path to recovery, reconciliation and development. Unfortunately today, our development growth has been temporarily slowed down.
A significant consequence of the war and its destruction, alongside a simultaneous transition from a planned to market economy, was the start of a drastic economic decline in the country. At that time we struggled with unemployment. As a result of Croatia’s gradual, yet positive development and economic growth, we were able to start to seriously tackle this problem. However, sparked by the recent crisis, Croatia’s unemployment problem is more pronounced than we would have wished. In implementing our programs, we have paid particular attention to vulnerable groups in our society. We are currently striving to create the highest standards in their employment and education, as well as in their comprehensive integration into society.
Particularly driven by global and European processes, Croatia has been actively dealing with numerous environmental protection issues. Croatia is rich in natural resources which include sea, surface water, air, forests, and soil. For centuries our peoples cultivated the extensive fertile Pannonian Plain and the soils of the Adriatic hinterland, they fed themselves from the Adriatic Sea and made their livelihoods as mariners. We have embarked on numerous reforms in all areas of environmental protection, aligning our legislative framework with the highest European and global standards. We are of the belief that, our numerous reforms financed from national resources in these areas are also essential preconditions for creating a new cycle of sustained development and thereby pave the way to a better future for our generation and generations to come.
As a new sovereign state, Croatia embarked on its development as a donor-recipient country. We deeply appreciate the valuable efforts by the international community during that period. Today, it is important to underscore that only after eighteen years, Croatia has graduated into a donor-country. The main objectives of our donor activities are targeted towards sharing our knowledge and experiences with other countries in the region. We have also focused our efforts towards countries in crisis, where our post-conflict experience in nation-building is particularly relevant. In this context, we assist in the development of civil society, reconciliation, and post-conflict reconstruction, as well as building functioning administrative capacities in the social realm. Moreover, Croatia provides all his within the framework of the MDGs. It is our deep conviction that, international assistance to least developed countries and crisis-inflicted countries in the world, has to be development-orientated and needs to target scaling up essential functions of society. Drawing from our own experiences, Croatia deems that development assistance must be in line with national priorities of recipient countries. The stabilization and development of every country in crisis must be a national endeavor, re-enforced by the wishes and needs of their peoples for peace, stability and development. Only under such circumstances, can international development assistance be fully effective, and international efforts bear fruit for the benefit of the local population and the recipient country as a whole.
Global partnership is the result of the global era in which we live. The world is a global village in which we must cohabitate as nations and as individuals, no matter where we live. Ahead of us lie new challenges, but as history has shown we will have to deal with them and find ways in order to overcome them. Moreover, it is a greater imperative of these times that, we undertake these efforts collectively in the spirit of understanding, tolerance, dialogue and solidarity.
Therefore, during this High-level Plenary meeting, as world leaders we must not spare any effort in finding viable, durable and affordable solutions for all. At the same time, we should spare our economies from further decline and our societies from greater impoverishment. However, these solutions should not simultaneously hinder our assistance to the least developed. Not only must we stick to the commitments we made ten years ago. More importantly, we must address them in the context of our respective capabilities, and identify innovative ways as to how to implement them in full.
This is the ultimate task we face at this meeting which, I believe, we can achieve through our collective efforts. Our way forward will be guided by those countries, who despite current fiscal pressures have maintained their levels of international financial assistance for development.
To conclude Mr. President, I call upon all of us to focus our constructive efforts over the next few days towards a successful outcome of this meeting. If used wisely, it will lay the foundations for ensuring a better future for all.