Like others before me I express our appreciation to you for convening this useful informal meeting of the General Assembly.
Iceland has examined the Report from the Millennium Project with great interest and would like to express appreciation to all those who worked so hard on it.
This Report, together with the Report from the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, is valuable input and inspiration for the Secretary-General in writing his report and will provide important background for preparations for the High-level meeting this coming September. That meeting and deliberations leading to it will provide a unique opportunity to renew political impetus for reducing extreme poverty and hunger in the world.
The Millenium Project report pays due attention to the importance of the rule of law, good governance, democracy and human rights in relation to development and achievement of the MDGs. These issues must be clearly spelled out as fundamental premises for meeting the MDGs.
The focus on gender-mainstreaming is also welcome. Moreover, we would like to see this given due prominence in further deliberations.
We support the Report’s attention to UN-reform and measures to improve the quality of aid, including increased emphasis on alignment, harmonization and more predictable funding by donors. The Report also correctly underlines the role and function of other actors, as highlighted in the Monterrey Consensus. Without an energetic private sector and participating civil society, sustainable economic and human development cannot be achieved.
While concurring with the probable efficacy of integrating the MDGs into poverty reduction strategies, it is important to stress that there must be full national ownership of the developing process. It is for each developing country’s government to adopt its strategy and to implement it, working closely with civil society organizations, the domestic private sector and international partners.
Iceland has in recent years been increasing its aid budget, both within bilateral cooperation with developing countries and to multilateral institutions, with the aim of more or less doubling ODA by 2009.
While an increase in ODA is crucial if we are to reach the MDGs, poverty reduction strategies must also draw on other resources, domestic and private as well as the benefits from increased international trade. In this context, Iceland concurs with the emphasis placed on completing the Doha round as soon as possible.
Thank you Mr. President