Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala gave a speech at President of the General Assemblys’ Special Event towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in New York on 25 September 2013.
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May I begin by expressing my appreciation to the President of the General As-sembly, for organizing this crucially important Special Event on the MDGs.
While we are – and must be – fully engaged in considering what the next deve-lopment goals should be, it is as crucial to give our full attention to delivering on the commitments already made.
This is the reason we are here today: to make sure we stay on track, and to give a final push to achieving all the MDG's by 2015. There are MDGs that are lag-ging badly behind. This and the fact that progress is uneven is where we need to focus our attention.
The UN Secretary General pointed out in his report to the General Assembly that the goals related to environment, gender equality, child survival, maternal health, and children in school are those where we are most behind. I find this sad, outrageous in fact. How is it possible that these goals of such central importance to development and to human rights, have been allowed to be overlooked? How is it possible that in low and middle income countries pregnancy and child birth are the leading causes to death for girls between 15 and 19 years?
I feel very strongly that we must use the remaining time to dedicate our best ef-forts to filling these gaps. Therefore, I have been extremely pleased to make very substantial increases to Finland’s support to gender equality and the rights of women and girls. This year, we almost doubled our core support to UN Women, and will double it again next year.
On the occasion of this Special Event, I feel the responsibility, however, to make an additional investment into the MDGs that have been so unfairly neglected. Therefore I am happy to announce that Finland is going to allocate, on top of all our previous core support this year, a total additional 9 million euros – equaling over 12 million US dollars - to our trusted partners UN Women, UNICEF, a champion of child rights, and UNFPA, an important promoter of maternal and child health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
I would like to encourage all Member States, and the UN, to accelerate their ef-forts, so that when we reach the 2015 finishing line, we can feel that we have all won.