Transcript of joint press conference, Rio de Janeiro
WED 20 JUNE 2012
Subject(s): Millennium Development Goals Advocates; Rio+20 Sustainability Conference
UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: I had a very good meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia. It has been a great pleasure for me and an honour to work with the Prime Minister during many months, not only on regional issues but global issues.
She has been eloquently contributing to overcoming European crisis, or overall the global financial crisis. I was very much interested by what she was eloquently presenting her views on the ways and means about overcoming these problems.
And I’m also grateful for such a strong supporting partnership the Australian Government and people have been rendering to the United Nations in coping with all global challenges.
And today, I thank the Prime Minister for her accepting my invitation to serve as co-chair of the Millennium Development Goals Advocates.
I have established the MDG Advocates, composed of distinguished world leaders of government and business communities and civil societies. They are the experts (inaudible) people to accelerate this MDG process.
Now we have only two years and half to go before we hit the target of MDG 2015.
Member states have discussed during this Rio+20 Summit what would be the successor and how we can carry on these MDGs.
I am encouraged that member states have agreed to establish Sustainable Development Goals, and I really count on the Prime Minister´s strong, visionary leadership and courage in leading this MDG Advocate group, and I really am looking forward to working very closely with her.
And I’m also very happy to work in the context of PIF – Pacific Islands Forum. I was invited by the Prime Minister last year and I visited and had some meetings.
I’m looking to have another such round of UN-PIF high-level meetings on the margins of the General Assembly in September.
PM: I’ve been delighted to accept the Secretary-General’s offer.
The Millennium Development Goals are about attacking poverty.
They’re about things like halving the number of people who live in absolute poverty, getting people clean water, getting them access to food, to vaccines, to disease treatment, dealing with infant mortality rates, primary school education.
Some progress has been made but more needs to be done, so I’ll be very pleased to work with the Secretary-General and the President of Rwanda, pushing the Millennium Development Goals and their realisation by 2015.
I’ve spoken to the Secretary-General about Australia’s contribution in aid. We are continuing to increase our aid contribution.
We did make a difficult decision to push back by $1 million, the point at which we will realise a 0.5 per cent GDP contribution, but since the Government was elected in 2007 we’ve increased our aid by 60 per cent, and it will increase each year.
So Australia is working hard, we’ve got a lot to do in our region and across the world, and I’m very thankful for this invitation and very honoured to accept it.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We’re very pressed for time, we have time for one question only.
JOURNALIST: Mr Secretary-General, what do you hope that Prime Minister Gillard can achieve in this role exactly, and also, given that Australia starts a carbon tax in a week’s time, how do you view Australia’s efforts or contribution to the effort on climate change?
UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: Australia can provide a good (inaudible) inspirations for many in the developing world. The scorecards of the MDGs are uneven, depending upon the countries.
Australia is one of the few countries whose economy and whose development have been continuously making good progress, therefore these kind of good examples could be used as a source of their inspiration.
The MDG Advocate groups are composed of very dedicated committed world leaders, business leaders, government leaders and civil society, so she can lead these people together with the President of Rwanda.
On climate change, Australia has again been a strong supporter and Australia has been leading by example. We must address this one. A lot of areas of our lives have been impacted by the climate change phenomenon. We have to address this one.
This can solve many, many issues. All these global challenges which we are facing, experiencing, climate change (inaudible) water scarcity, energy shortages, all of these are interconnected. So that’s why I am asking that all these issues should be addressed comprehensively in an integrating way.
That’s why I´m emphasising the importance of energy. This can trade all the threat in addressing climate change; water, food, global health issues.
I really count on Australia’s continuing leadership.
PM: Thank you.