Message of the United Nations Secretary-General to opening of European Development Days

Brussels, 6 December 2010
Delivered by Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator, UN Development Programme


President Barroso,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to convey my warm greetings to all those gathered for the 2010 European Development Days.    

In September, at the United Nations, your leaders renewed their commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and adopted a set of actions to accelerate progress. 

We know where we want to go.  We know what needs to be done.  Your gathering can harness new ideas and spur novel approaches on how to do it. 

The European Union is a leader in development cooperation. The Lisbon Treaty has put development at the forefront of its agenda.  With this, comes great responsibilities.  Many around the world look to the European Union to help lead the way forward. 

It is encouraging that countries are working to achieve aid targets despite stringent budget cuts.  Yet, overall, we must acknowledge that there is much more work to do. 

Since the 2003 Monterrey Conference on financing for development, great strides have been made to improve the quality of aid.  But development cooperation is broader than aid alone. Policies in such areas as trade, agriculture or migration must reinforce development objectives.   The European Union has embraced policy coherence for development.  It is important to translate this into national policy making.  

Development cooperation is also broader than governments alone.  It engages a vibrant, diverse and ever growing community.  It needs to build on the successes and innovations of non- government actors.   All need to work in unison.   Likewise, many lessons can be learned from South-South cooperation. 

As we look forward, we know that the Least Developed Countries continue to confront significant levels of poverty and hunger.  But LDCs also have abundant natural resources, young populations and huge capacities to create clean energy.  Next year’s upcoming LDC conference in Istanbul should launch a renewed partnership with LDCs, and I look to the European Union to help show the way.

We must also renew our commitment to sustainable development. The Rio+20 Conference in 2012 can provide new momentum for promoting green growth while combating poverty.  And the conference on climate change taking place now in Cancun provides an immediate opportunity to make advances in the areas of deforestation, adaptation, technology, finance and capacity building.

Development cooperation demands accountability.  Commitments made must be kept.  It is promising that the G20 embraced the issue of development.   The United Nations – and ECOSOC’s Development Cooperation Forum – should play its key role as a platform to promote and review the implementation of commitments.  

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to expanding opportunity and enhancing human dignity around the world.  I look forward to continuing to work closely with you on the many vital challenges ahead.