Opening Statement to Special Event of the President of the General Assembly to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, UN Headquarters, New York, USA, Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Your Excellencies,
Your Majesties,
Ladies and Gentlemen

We are meeting here today to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the MDGs as mandated by Resolution 65/1 entitled “Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals”.

South Africa is honoured to have played a role together with the Republic of Ireland in the facilitation of this process and thank fellow member states for the support and trust that had been bestowed on us to ensure that this event is meaningful.


More than 10 years ago, the Millennium Declaration was adopted, representing the most powerful international commitment for a new partnership to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.

To date, the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals continue to provide a unifying framework for the development activities of Member States and Non-State actors alike. 

While acknowledging progress in achieving the MDGs over the past decade, South Africa is cognisant of the gaps and unevenness in achieving these development goals.

Although much progress has been made, significant challenges remain, particularly for Africa.

While Africa has made significant improvements and aims to foster sustainable transformative growth, the mixed results recorded with the MDGs warrant intensified development efforts at national level, but also more significantly supported at the international level through collaborative efforts and arrangements based on collective efforts.

A strengthened Global Partnership for Development, building on existing commitments, is thus crucial. 

It is in this context that the realization of the Right to Development can strengthen this Global Partnership to achieve the MDGs.

The Right to Development provides an integrated, holistic and cohesive framework for achieving just and equitable development for all, including the attainment of human dignity and equality.

It is a guide for development in the areas of development aid, trade liberalization, investment promotion, market access and debt relief and will thus provide States with a better chance of attaining the MDGs.


The Millennium Development Goals will remain relevant even after 2015 and thus any discussion on the Post-2015 Development Agenda should be predicated on this framework.

While South Africa welcomes efforts to consider the UN development agenda beyond 2015, we are of the view that the debate on what is to come after, should not divert the commitments made to achieve the MDGs.


South Africa looks forward to engaging in an intergovernmental process during the 69th Session of the General Assembly on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.  In our view, this agenda must be guided by the spirit of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness and universality.

The eradication of poverty and hunger, as well as combatting inequality at all levels must be at the centre stage of the development agenda. The post-2015 development should also be cognizant of the different countries’ conditions and their respective development stages.

Accordingly, the global development partnership must adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". South Africa also reaffirms the importance of an appropriate balance and level of integration between the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely, inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability.

Much progress has been made on the environmental pillar in pursuing sustainable development. We now need a stronger focus on socio-economic development, which is currently lagging behind. It is in this regard that economic growth and development must be geared toward job creation, poverty eradication and addressing inequalities.


Additionally, crucial to these discussions are the means of implementation. A successful development agenda would require continued Official Development Assistance (ODA), enhanced resource mobilisation, transfer of technology and capacity building.  


The Post-2015 Development Agenda must take into account regional priorities and existing continent wide initiatives. With regard to Africa, support for Africa’s socio-economic blueprint, NEPAD, should be strengthened.


South Africa hopes that this morning’s discussion will invigorate a useful debate on the review and the acceleration of the MDG’s in the run-up to 2015.

With less than 850 days left, redoubled efforts and a far greater sense of urgency is needed to implement outstanding targets before we embark on the envisaged inter-governmental negotiations at the sixty-ninth session.

I thank you.

Issued by The Presidency





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