The Special Event in 2013 to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals

Speech, E&OE, (check against delivery)

25 September 2013

Co-chairsand colleagues,

At thebeginning of the new millennium, our Leaders came together at the United Nationsto express our shared commitment to reduce poverty and promote a more secureand prosperous world.

The Millennium Development Goals expressthese shared commitments.

Today, Australiareaffirms its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

As we lookto accelerate progress on the MDGs to 2015 and design their successors, it istimely to reflect on the lessons learned.

The experienceof the Asia-Pacific, where Australia has focused our efforts, is an instructiveone.

In 1990, 54per cent of people in the Asia-Pacific lived in extreme poverty.This has since fallen to below 22 per cent.

This is aremarkable achievement – one that evidence shows has been underpinned byeconomic growth, most notably in China but also in other countries including Indonesia,Vietnam and the Philippines.

China is aclear example of the power of economic growth as the driver for povertyreduction.

Theprogressive liberalisation of China's economy has supported its strong growthand improved living standards for hundreds of millions of its citizens.

It is soundeconomic policies, underpinned by strong national leadership that determineshow quickly countries can transition out of poverty.

Theevidence is clear.

Jobs are adecisive factor in moving people out of poverty and it is the private sectorthat creates the vast majority of employment opportunities.

The privatesector grows when new markets are accessed and when reduced costs makecompanies more internationally competitive, including through infrastructureinvestments.

One dollarinvested in aid for trade leads to an estimated increase of nearly eightdollars in additional exports from developing countries.

Also key tointernational competitiveness is access to a well-trained and educated labourforce.

The storyof progress in the Asia-Pacific is also one of differentiation betweencountries.

Theexperience of the Small Island Developing States and fragile and conflictaffected states is markedly different from the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. In some Pacific Island countries, up to 35 per cent of people live in poverty. Persistentunemployment and limited economic potential, compounded by remoteness, aremajor challenges.

In fragile andconflict affected countries, instability and poor governance has hampereddevelopment and economic growth.

People infragile countries are twice as likely to be undernourished and 50 per cent morelikely to be impoverished.

That is whythe new framework also needs to take account of the barriers to development – poorgovernance, insecurity and instability.

The newframework needs to further promote women's leadership and economic empowerment.

It shouldalso take into account the needs and priorities of people with disability.

Ifully endorse the messages from the Secretary-General's High Level PanelReport, ably chaired by President Yudhoyono, President Johnson Sirleaf andPrime Minister Cameron, that economic transformation and job creation, as wellas sound institutions and peaceful societies, must be core to the post 2015agenda.

Thenew framework should be simple and compelling, and focus on the eradication ofextreme poverty through sustainable development.

I thankyou.

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