President Obama Addresses the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the UN

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 22, 2010
President Obama Addresses the United Nations in New York

Today, President Obama addressed the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The President said, "In the Charter of this United Nations, our countries pledged to work for 'the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.' In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recognized the inherent dignity and rights of every individual, including the right to a decent standard of living. And a decade ago, at the dawn of a new millennium, we set concrete goals to free our fellow men, women and children from the injustice of extreme poverty.

"These are the standards that we set. And today, we must ask: Are we living up to our mutual responsibilities?

"I suspect that some in wealthier countries may ask, with our economies struggling, so many people out of work, and so many families barely getting by, why a summit on development? And the answer is simple. In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans.

"When a child dies from a preventable disease, it shocks all of our consciences. When a girl is deprived of an education or her mother is denied equal rights, it undermines the prosperity of their nation. When a young entrepreneur can't start a new business, it stymies the creation of new jobs and markets in that entrepreneur's country, but also in our own. When millions of fathers cannot provide for their families, it feeds the despair that can fuel instability and violent extremism. When a disease goes unchecked, it can endanger the health of millions around the world.

"So let's put to rest the old myth that development is mere charity that does not serve our interests. And let's reject the cynicism that says certain countries are condemned to perpetual poverty, for the past half century has witnessed more gains in human development than at any time in history. A disease that had ravaged the generations, smallpox, was eradicated. Health care has reached the far corners of the world, saving the lives of millions. From Latin America to Africa to Asia, developing nations have transformed into leaders in the global economy.

"Nor can anyone deny the progress that has been made toward achieving certain Millennium Development Goals. The doors of education have been opened to tens of millions of children, boys and girls. New cases of HIV/AIDS and malaria and tuberculosis are down. Access to clean drinking water is up. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted from extreme poverty. That is all for the good, and it's a testimony to the extraordinary work that's been done both within countries and by the international community.

"Yet we must also face the fact that progress towards other goals that were set has not come nearly fast enough. Not for the hundreds of thousands of women who lose their lives every year simply giving birth. Not for the millions of children who die from agony of malnutrition. Not for the nearly one billion people who endure the misery of chronic hunger.

"This is the reality we must face -- that if the international community just keeps doing the same things the same way, we may make some modest progress here and there, but we will miss many development goals. That is the truth. With 10 years down and just five years before our development targets come due, we must do better.

"...As President, I have made it clear that the United States will do our part. My national security strategy recognizes development not only as a moral imperative, but a strategic and economic imperative. Secretary of State Clinton is leading a review to strengthen and better coordinate our diplomacy and our development efforts. We've reengaged with multilateral development institutions. And we are rebuilding the United States Agency for International Development as the world's premier development agency. In short, we're making sure that the United States will be a global leader in international development in the 21st century.

"We also recognize, though, that the old ways will not suffice. That's why in Ghana last year I called for a new approach to development that unleashes transformational change and allows more people to take control of their own destiny. After all, no country wants to be dependent on another. No proud leader in this room wants to ask for aid. No family wants to be beholden to the assistance of others.

"To pursue this vision, my administration conducted a comprehensive review of America's development programs. We listened to leaders in government, NGOs and civil society, the private sector and philanthropy, Congress and our many international partners.

"And today, I'm announcing our new U.S. Global Development Policy -- the first of its kind by an American administration. It's rooted in America's enduring commitment to the dignity and potential of every human being. And it outlines our new approach and the new thinking that will guide our overall development efforts, including the plan that I promised last year and that my administration has delivered to pursue the Millennium Development Goals. Put simply, the United States is changing the way we do business."

You can read President Obama's full remarks here.



New York, USA
September 22, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

MDG's....President Obama nails them.

1- We are 10 years in and 5 to go.

2- It's about self-sustainability; not charity.

3- Large or small; we are interconnected.

4- We must be accountable and make it work as an autonomous practice.

5- Vision a new global development policy.

6- Lead the world; and make demands.

I'm glad he noted his Kenyan dad in the context of a global understanding.

Now....move carefully to avoid corruption and exploitation of MDG's resources.

Anne B.
California, USA
September 22, 2010

Anne B. in California writes:

President Obama: Thank you for your address today to the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the UN headquarters. I agree with your focus on results, making improvement in people's lives, and a just future for all. Yes, it requires collaboration in ways unimaginable with a sense of common purpose to meet and sustain the MDGs.

Last year I wrote and self published a book after my mom passed. Royalty from the book is donated for MDG#1 eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The focus is on family, acceptance of people of various faiths, healthcare issues, and helping others. As a healthcare provider with over 35 years experience predominately in the ICU, it is time for someone to speak up about the real issues from a personal true story.

South Korea
September 23, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

If a warning is likely to be worthless story in August 2011, sustaining the global food for a comprehensive monitoring and management should not let up the tension I think.

Food problem of the rapid economic growth in poor countries is likely to be obstacles in the talks. Eyes at least 2-3 years in some countries spend more to help the economy likely to grow big, food and basic necessities, housing and land prices, rapid growth likely to emerge as a key factor obstructing the development of big, food is a little dangerous Start to think step.

i wanna unity(at least november). if select someone, i`m leaving.
sorry. But I think the threat does not have any effect. No awareness of being,,,,
( I'd always remember the story, Greece, Iran, 13, japan election -did not think the story is very important.)

Consumer R.
September 23, 2010

Jenni G. writes:

This is all very interesting. I look forward to countries trying to work together, peacefully, for the greater good of all.
Kind regards.

Jen P.
Virginia, USA
September 23, 2010

Jen P. in Virginia writes:

Thank you for bringing light to the MDGs. As an undergraduate student nurse actively working to improve the quality of life for hundreds of people in my community, as well as abroad, I thank you. Thousands of people across the nation and countless more across the world are familiar with the MDGs. But, there is a tremendous amount of people, including many healthcare providers, who are completely unaware of the MDGs. I feel it is critically important for everyone everywhere to realize that the MDGs have not only been developed to provide aid for countries in need, but that they were developed with the entire world in mind.

J L.
Indiana, USA
September 27, 2010

J.L. in Indiana writes:

As one of the most powerful nations in the world, we have a responsibility to assist other countries improve their social and economic standings and I think this speech really evidences the executive’s goals to do so. I appreciated the very honest comment that with just 5 years until we reach our development target deadline, now is the time for expedited action. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have approached such projects with insight and innovation, and the missions of this speech reflect their missions in the launch of Civil Society 2.0 this November. Their efforts to connect civil societies through technology are incredibly appropriate for the 21st century. A world that is so reliant on technology, even in developing countries, should focus on using technology that is already accessible to a large percent of the population. When Civil Society 2.0 is launched, the local people will be able to identify their own needs for development and collaborate amongst themselves and with people with knowledge in those fields. This is important because they know better than anyone what their village or nation needs. This will eventually reduce their reliance on the United States and empower groups through united action. The United States is offering civil societies the tools to improve their lives and make important developments themselves, yet isn't abandoning their responsibility to offer assistance. President Obama is right that countries don’t want to ask for help or be dependent on other people, and such grassroots efforts in development are a way to give them their own power. We have seen technology empower women, connect groups protesting corrupt officials and even develop economies. In Kenya the development of mobile banking, connecting phones with text capabilities to bank accounts, has improved business efficiency, reduced travel expenses and allowed individuals to save more frequently. Innovation like this is the future of development. Addressing the UN was an appropriate way of getting the world invovled in these efforts.


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