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New York, Sunday, September 19, 2010―In his opening statement to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly Monday on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick, will say that the World Bank has helped to save the lives of 13 million people with its MDG-related IDA* fund for the world’s poorest since 2000, and will redouble efforts to mobilize substantial new investments agriculture, education, and health to close the overall MDG gap over the next five years.
Signed in 2000, the goals commit developing countries, donors, and others to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger and significantly improve the economic and human welfare of poor people worldwide by 2015.
“The Millennium Development Goals are central to the World Bank Group’s mission and our everyday work. Since 2000, IDA funding has helped save 13 million lives,” said Zoellick in prepared remarks for the opening plenary of the High-Level Meetings on the MDGs at the United Nations.
“We are working with our partners to deliver measurable results across the development agenda. We need to interconnect the various goals. It is not enough to build health clinics if there are no roads for mothers to gain access to them. It is not enough to train teachers or provide textbooks, if children have to struggle with homework at night in the dark. People do not live their lives in health sectors, or education sectors, or infrastructure sectors, arranged in tidy compartments. People live in families, villages, communities, countries, where all the issues of everyday life merge. We need to connect the dots,” Zoellick said.
“This is what IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, is doing. Over the last 10 years, IDA has increased its no- interest and grant funding in support of developing countries from $4.4 billion in 2000 to $14.5 billion this year,” said Zoellick, calling on countries to support IDA’s replenishment this year.
“Today, it is emerging economies that are helping pull the world economy out of recession. Today, some developing countries are emerging as economic powers; others are moving towards becoming additional poles of growth; and yet some are struggling to attain their potential within this new system – where North and South, East and West, can be points on a compass, not economic destinies. I believe in Africa. I believe that Africa can be a global pole of growth,” said Zoellick.
Looking ahead to 2015, the World Bank Group President said it was also vital that the development community reflect on lessons learned during the last ten years of the MDGs, and to build on what had worked to deliver better development results over the period.
"As we review the last decade of MDG progress at the UN this week, we must also look beyond and behind the numbers to see what we can learn from them. We need to invest in what works and fix or end what doesn’t. We need to work with developing countries as clients, not as development models from textbooks. We need to help them solve problems, not test theories,” Zoellick said.
Describing the impact of the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, Zoellick said that since 2000, IDA funding has helped immunize 311 million children; provided access to water and sanitation for 177 million people; helped more than 47 million people access health services; provided nutrition supplements to 99 million children; and educated 13 million girls.
In his remarks, Zoellick will say:
· Reaching the MDGs is not just a challenge for the poorest countries―70 percent of the world's poor live in middle income countries.
· Over the last three decades, developing and emerging economies have made progress in overcoming poverty. In 1981, 52 percent of people in developing countries lived in extreme poverty; by 2005, that share had been cut by more than half. Efforts by developing countries were paying off right up until the crisis, with poverty falling sharply in East Asia, Latin America, and Eastern and Central Europe.
· The triple-blow of food, fuel and financial crises since 2008 has slowed down and even reversed progress towards the MDGs in many countries around the world.
· The World Bank estimates that 64 million more people are living in extreme poverty in 2010, and some 40 million more people went hungry last year because of the crises.
· The World Bank would focus on “The Access Agenda” helping to ensure access to basic health, quality schooling, clean water, energy, food, and jobs – looking, not just at the numbers, but at the quality of services.
· The World Bank would increase its zero-interest investment in basic education by an additional $750 million to focus on the countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, that are not on track to reach the education MDGs by 2015.
· In health, the World Bank will increase the scope of its health results-based programs by more than $600 million until 2015― focusing on 35 countries, particularly in East Asia, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa which face challenges in achieving their MDGs due to high fertility, poor child and maternal nutrition, and high rates of child and maternal disease.
* The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing interest-free credits and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve people’s living conditions.
For more on the World Bank's work on the Millennium Development Goals and the International Development Association (IDA,) please visit:
For a link to the remarks, as prepared for delivery, please click here.