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Statement by H. E. Mr. Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia at the Special Event on Millennium Development Goals


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


With 15 months left until the year 2015, it is a good time to honestly reflect on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.


In their universal acceptance the MDGs have managed to galvanize widespread international support across the entire spectrum of stakeholders. This is the greatest value of the MDGs, on which we can build also the future sustainable development agenda.


Poverty eradication is one of the main objectives of the MDGs and since the turn of the millennium we have seen the fastest reduction of poverty in human history. That process can only be sustained through consistent implementation of the policies to which we have pledged ourselves. The international community should continue striving towards the objectives put on paper in 2000, despite the fact that most likely not all the targets will be met entirely. Several comprehensive reports touch these matters. They provide us useful lessons learned from the MDGs implementation process and are the baseline to formulate the post-2015 development agenda.


We have learnt that the MDGs should have focused more on reaching the poorest and most excluded societal groups. In many societies women and girls are the main drivers of development. Not allowing them to fulfil their full potential is to disregard half of the potential of the humankind. This applies not only when we talk about education, decent job opportunities and health services but also about gender equality and their position in society.


We know now also that the realization of the MDGs has been faster and brought more enduring results when the process has had both a strong national ownership and commitment to mobilize domestic resources. The international community and private donors continue to be there to support those in true need. But the universal post-2015 development agenda should encourage the leaders of all countries to take full responsibility for the wellbeing of their people.


Ladies and gentlemen,


I wish to underline that the pursuit of peace and stability, unconditional adherence to human rights, application of effective governance based on the rule of law and creation of transparent institutions are both the outcomes and enablers of development. In this context I would like to draw your attention to the full potential of modern information and telecommunication technology. In Estonia, we like to think that we live in a Positively Transforming country. One of the key factors supporting our positive transitions over the last two decades has been the bold use of ICT. Using ICT to build innovative e-governance services helps to build more efficient and transparent public administration. It is a business catalyst and presents new possibilities for civil society participation. I am confident that wider and more venturous usage of modern ICT solutions could be one of the key enablers when we speak about good governance, efficiency, access to services, job creation, transparency and accountability in the context of the new sustainable development framework.


To conclude – with open mind and wide approach, we all are working hard on achieving the MDGs and on carving out the new sustainable development agenda for the post-2015 era. Although we can build on the experiences from the MDGs, we have to keep in mind that the world has changed significantly over the last decades. The nature of poverty has changed. Violence in armed conflicts must not hinder the achievement of development goals. The inequalities within countries are rising. We have been hit by the economic crisis and the private investment in developing countries dwarfs the aid flows. There are megatrends like population dynamics, urbanisation, climate change and migration which paint the background for the discussions about the post-2015 development agenda. With respect to these circumstances I am still confident that keeping the three dimensions of sustainability in its core and maintaining a strong focus on poverty eradication is the only way forward towards one set of concrete and measurable sustainable development targets which are applicable and achievable to every country in the world.


Thank you for your attention.


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