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European Commissioner for Development
From MDGs to a Decent Life for Everyone
HLP post 2015 / New York
26 September 2012
Presidents, Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Millennium Development Goals have resonated very strongly across Europe.
It is not by accident that the EU is collectively the World's largest provider of Official Development Assistance and by a considerable margin, and that it has entered the most advanced development partnerships with the countries most in need of help.
We have just completed a public enquiry that demonstrates this strong and continuing support for the MDGs and points the way forward, even when we face difficult times at home.
It is true that the MDGs have been hugely successful; but the job is only half done.
And the world faces additional and greater challenges, than we were aware of in 2000.
I would like to share some first personal thoughts on the way forward.
We have a real opportunity to eradicate poverty, across the world, in our lifetime.
We know it can be done. The only question is whether, collectively, we are willing to do it. Thus, the new framework must apply to, and be relevant to, every citizen on the planet; rich or poor. It should promise, by 2030, a Decent Life For Everyone. Every single global citizen.
To achieve this, I suggest we need to work around three pillars.
First, updated and modernised MDGs, providing decent living standards for all – a set of minimum floors below which no one should fall.
Second, as we are all aware, the MDGs alone will not guarantee a decent life. Without dignity, poverty remains. This means focussing on the drivers for prosperity, creating jobs and guaranteeing justice and equity.
Third; we all know that we are living today, quite literally, unsustainably. If we continue as today, when faced with a global population of 9 billion by 2050, we will undo so much of the progress thus far achieved, and impoverish future generations.
Each country must therefore have its own obligations towards its citizens in terms of the good stewardship of its own precious natural resources, from forests to fossil fuels, from minerals to soil.
This can cover, for example, in addition to environmental sustainability, the good use of income from natural resources and managing, reducing or indeed eliminating their depletion.
Each country will need to make its fair contribution, but global action can support it, for example through global rules on transparency.
Collectively, this can add up to good global stewardship.
I look forward to working with you to develop the blueprint that will be seen by future generations as the defining moment when the world came together to truly eliminate poverty.
Ambitious words, I know; but if we are not ambitious here, when will we be.