2010. szeptember 21., New York: Statement by Pál Schmitt President of the Republic of Hungary at the high level meeting on Millennium Development Goals
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Development is among the most important long-term multilateral agendas existing today. As we all know, lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. This is a collective challenge; therefore collective thinking and multifaceted actions are needed in order to meet the diverse, yet closely interconnected set of goals lying ahead of us.
Hungary strongly advocates a holistic approach towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Consciously targeted policies are required to reach the goals that are lagging behind, and full policy coherence is needed in order to accelerate the progress.
While emphasizing that all MDGs are equally important and interrelated, Hungary believes that by eradicating extreme poverty and hunger we could significantly contribute to the fulfillment of the other goals. A comprehensive approach to food security is essential and we of the view that sustainable agricultural development based on local resources, opportunities and ecological aspects is a vital element of this.
As recent MDG progress reviews revealed, in particular rural communities suffer from a lack of development. We feel that an emphasis on rural development and improvement of rural life conditions can contribute to the reduction of urban migration and therefore help reduce the build-up of slums.
Security of water supplies, proper water management, access to clean water and sanitation are core elements of the overarching priorities of the Millennium Development Goals. Hungary is committed to further sharing with its partners its experiences in this field. Let me point out in this regard, that water will also be one of the main themes of the forthcoming Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of the year 2011.
Sustainable environment and ecosystems provide the preconditions for social and economic well-being. However, global threats to development, climate change above all, pose a burden on the use of natural resources, and thus negatively affect the reliability of agriculture, and in particular food production capacities. We firmly believe that adaptation to climate change, appropriate mitigation measures, prudent use of arable land and water, as well as the halting of the loss of biodiversity are essential for the balance of nature and human existence.
Hungary is convinced that there is no sustainable development without improving capacity in human resources. Education empowers individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to shape the future, protect our limited resources and participate in building more peaceful societies. Education, especially for women and girls living in poverty, not only provides opportunities for a better future, but is also a key for survival. Economic growth and political democracy are also held back, unless women participate on an equal footing with men.
Access to inclusive, functional and quality education, corresponding to the needs of our rapidly changing world is essential. But the importance of physical education should not be neglected either. You will certainly understand my insistence and determination on this subject when you consider that I am probably the only Head of State in this room who is actually an Olympic gold winner. Sport is not only beneficial to health, but it also teaches discipline, determination, fellowship and respect for each other. Similarly, special attention needs to be attributed to multilingual education, including learning in mother tongue both at the level of communities and individuals. Coherent and sustainable policies are needed in order to implement these priorities, as this is an area where results become tangible only in the long run.
Meeting the global health challenges is also a priority, since the development of human resources relies largely on the improvement of the health sector, extensive access to health care and the increasing of local capacities of national health systems. Hungary can contribute to this process by offering its experience in building up national health care networks, implementing infant vaccination systems and sharing its professional knowledge and new technological developments in the field of medical devices.
With regard to one particular area, namely maternal health, I would like to draw your attention to the unique Hungarian system of health visitors’ network covering the entire country, under which specialized nurses regularly visit pregnant women and mothers with newborn babies, even in the smallest communities. We are ready to share our experiences in this field with our development partners, and in this way also contribute to the progress in maternal and infant health related MDG goals.
Benefiting from the results and opportunities of scientific progress and new technologies is a crucial component of achieving our development goals. Many developing countries have obtained remarkable results in their efforts to create inclusive knowledge societies. Since 2003, Hungary traditionally organizes the biennial World Science Forum – a unique global initiative in the domain – which gives a strategic perspective to the linkages between science and development, with a particular focus on the needs of the most vulnerable countries.
Development is a partnership. It is our future which is at stake now; therefore it is our common responsibility to make every effort to accomplish our commitments. We strive not only for an efficient, economically well-functioning international system, but also for a harmonious, dignified and human world.
Let us work together for a sustainable future.
Thank you for your attention.