Remarks by the President at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, New York
United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York
4:49 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
In the Charter of this United Nations, our countries pledged to work for “the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.” In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recognized the inherent dignity and rights of every individual, including the right to a decent standard of living. And a decade ago, at the dawn of a new millennium, we set concrete goals to free our fellow men, women and children from the injustice of extreme poverty.
These are the standards that we set. And today, we must ask: Are we living up to our mutual responsibilities?
I suspect that some in wealthier countries may ask, with our economies struggling, so many people out of work, and so many families barely getting by, why a summit on development? And the answer is simple. In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans.
When a child dies from a preventable disease, it shocks all of our consciences. When a girl is deprived of an education or her mother is denied equal rights, it undermines the prosperity of their nation. When a young entrepreneur can’t start a new business, it stymies the creation of new jobs and markets in that entrepreneur’s country, but also in our own. When millions of fathers cannot provide for their families, it feeds the despair that can fuel instability and violent extremism. When a disease goes unchecked, it can endanger the health of millions around the world. Read the rest