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Newly established forum vital for advancing development – Ban Ki-moon

Newly established forum vital for advancing development – Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to governments, United Nations organizations, civil society, parliaments, the private sector and academia to make the most of a newly established forum to advance the world’s shared anti-poverty goals, including by scaling up funds to ensure they are achieved on time.

The Development Cooperation Forum, launched today in Geneva, is “a decisive step forward in the implementation of the global partnership for development,” Mr. Ban told participants at the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

As an initiative supported by the heads of State at the 2005 UN World Summit, the Forum will be held every other year as part of the high-level segment of the Council’s annual session. The first meeting will take place in New York in 2008.

Among its tasks, the Forum will focus on finding effective ways to support the achievement of the set of internationally agreed poverty reduction targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mr. Ban noted that in recent years, donors have committed to substantial increases in ODA and debt relief, and until recently, the long-term decline in development assistance was reversed.

The Secretary-General urged donors to commit to timelines for scaling up aid to reach development targets, stressing that “fresh funding is required if we are to overcome the financing gap” and reach the Goals on time.

A mid-point update on the MDGs issued last week stated that “the Goals are still achievable in most countries – if we act now,” he stressed.

Mr. Ban also highlighted the importance of a body like the Forum in addressing the challenges surrounding international development assistance, which he said appeared “unnecessarily fragmented and complicated.”

Donor aid flows tend to be concentrated in a few countries, while other low-income countries suffer from under-funding, he noted. In addition, the number of donors is increasing, and countries are burdened with responding to different demands by various players.

In ensuring that “all voices are heard,” the Forum can foster an inclusive approach in dealing with these and other challenges, Mr. Ban stated.