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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
20 September 2010

General Assembly
GA/10987
DEV/2813

            Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly
Plenary
3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)


 ‘THE CLOCK IS TICKING,’ SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS, URGING WORLD LEADERS TO GENERATE

RESOURCES, POLITICAL WILL TO ACHIEVE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS BY 2015
United Nations Chief Opens Summit on Progress to Meet Anti-Poverty Targets,
Assembly President Declares: ‘We Have No Right to Fail; World’s Eyes Are Upon Us’



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Background

The General Assembly met today to convene a high-level meeting to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals, which is set to run through Wednesday, 22 September.  With five years to go before the 2015 deadline for worldwide achievement of the Goals – which include cutting hunger and poverty in half, providing basic education for children, reducing infant and maternal mortality by two thirds and three quarters, respectively, and reversing the spread of infectious diseases - nearly 140 Heads of State and Government are expected to identify gaps and commit to steps to reach the targets agreed at the Millennium Summit.

In addition to plenary meetings and round-table discussions on key issues, various partnership events by Governments, United Nations agencies and leaders from civil society, foundations and the private sector are expected to result in announcements of new initiatives, including on women’s and children’s health.  At the end of the three-day gathering, world leaders are expected to adopt an action agenda, which would include measures for advancing progress on each Goal.

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Statements

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SHIMON PERES, President of Israel, said science, creativity and knowledge had replaced land as the source of wealth.  While land could be conquered, science could not.  Still, terrorists spread violence caused by ideological differences, social gaps and sheer fanaticism.  But modern science was able to provide new answers and the coming 10 years would see an explosion of knowledge.  He spoke on behalf of a small people and a tiny land, which had been attacked seven times in 62 years.

Despite wars, Israel had made peace with Egypt and Jordan, and had left Gaza on its own initiative, he said.  Now, Israel was negotiating with the Palestinians on a way to realize the two-State solution:  a Jewish State, Israel, and an Arab State, Palestine.  “I believe we shall succeed,” he said, noting that Israel also was ready to enter direct negotiations with Syria right away.  Israel was committed to the Goals, and shared the burden of saving the world from war and hunger.  Without peace, poverty would remain, and without food, peace would not prevail.

Five decades ago, an Israeli farmer produced food for 15 persons, he said; today, he produced for 120.  To cultivate land, States must also cultivate education and improve health.  Israel had introduced free compulsory education for all, while the national health-care system provided world-class treatment for every citizen.  “Our path is available to everyone,” he said, and Israel was ready to share its experience.  While some had said there was no future for Israel in the Middle East, he believed the region had room for “every person, every nation, every religion”.  Recalling his younger days on a kibbutz, he said it was there he learned to respect pioneers.  He called on delegates to harness science and technology to increase food production, and second, to stand together against terror.  “A terrorized world will never be governable,” he said.

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For information media • not an official record

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