World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn said on Sunday that the international community must deliver on the commitments made during recent world summits to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty by 2015.
"Together, we have set 2015 as the deadline for our results," said Wolfensohn. "We must now, together, move beyond words and set deadlines for our actions. We have said we are mutually accountable. It is time to deliver."
Wolfensohn pointed to the need for urgent action on education, AIDS and clean water "as the first test of our commitment to partnering for results."
In his address to the 2002 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, Wolfensohn called on rich countries to improve donor coordination, untie aid, and agree a "fixed timetable" for the elimination of agricultural subsidies. "We know that there is so much that can be done by rich countries without waiting for Doha. I urge you to act sooner."
Wolfensohn called on all partners in the development business to pay special attention to inclusion, participation and empowerment:
"Societies the world over are changing. People demand to know, to be consulted, to have a say, to have a voice. Unless we build on their strengths, we will forgo the most powerful force for implementation."
Wolfensohn called for a "new multilateralism" which would include the voices of civil society and the private sector.
"The old multilateralism was government to government. The new multilateralism must include the voices of the private sector and civil society. We must all be more accountable. Better partners. Better listeners. Better deliverers. Better development multilateralsim will deliver better development results."
Arguing that the current distribution of income in which 15 per cent of the world's population controls 80 per cent of the world's income is unsustainable, Wolfensohn said "the quest for a more equal world is the quest for long term peace—something that military power alone can never achieve. Today, more and more people are saying that poverty anywhere is poverty everywhere – and their voices are getting louder. Their demand is for a global system based on equity, human rights and social justice. It must be our demand too."
To read the full text of Wolfensohn's remarks, please see 2002 Annual Meetings Address.