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Work With Private Sector Vital To Achieving MDGs

Partnering with private sector crucial to achieving MDGs – Assembly President

6 May 2008 – Closer partnerships with the private sector are essential to making headway in the race to achieve the eight anti-poverty targets world leaders pledged to achieve by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the President of the United Nations General Assembly told a major private sector event in London today.

Addressing the Business Call to Action event, organized jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Kingdom, Srgjan Kerim said business should be encouraged to develop new markets in the developing world by providing goods and services for the poorest ‘bottom billion.’

“Today it is time to move beyond words,” the Assembly President told participants, who included the Presidents of Rwanda and Ghana, as well as key business leaders, private sector representatives, UN officials and members of think tanks.

He stressed the need to explore new opportunities and to develop new initiatives that could unleash the expertise, investment and technology of the private sector to support growth in developing countries. Additionally, it is also time to go beyond philanthropy by leveraging the core business of those present in support of achieving the MDGs and making a profit, he said.

Mr. Kerim also noted that many business leaders would be invited to announce new initiatives and champion specific MDGs during a special meeting with Heads of States at the UN in New York on 25 September, which he will be convening jointly with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The purpose of this meeting is to reaffirm the dedication and commitment of Member States and the UN system to unconditionally meet the MDGs,” he stated. “Partnerships with the private sector are part and parcel of this.”

Following the MDG event, the President met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and gave him the letter of invitation to the 25 September meeting and the chairman’s summary of the MDG debate held by the Assembly in early April.

During their discussion, the two men also focused on agricultural production in Africa and the looming food crisis. “The UN must show, without delay, prompt and resolute leadership, in my opinion, because of the scope and implications of the problem,” Mr. Kerim noted.

From the UK, the President embarks on an official visit to Turkey, where he will tomorrow meet with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Tayyíp Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. He will also address Bilkent University on the role of the UN in the era of globalization.

Mr. Kerim will then travel to Egypt for an official visit, which includes meetings with Egyptian officials and an address to the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs.

He is expected to be in Israel next Tuesday and Wednesday for an official visit on the invitation of President Shimon Peres.

ENDS

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