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Speeches & Transcripts

Transcript: Global Voices on Poverty Event with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

April 20, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Global Voices on Poverty Event on April 19. 2013 Washington, DC, United States

Transcript

MS. MAKGABO:  Good, good, good. 

Good morning, everybody.  Thank you so much for joining us this morning, and I love it when there's standing room only, because it means we're going to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the room and I know you will make sure you're energetic and enthusiastic, because otherwise you're going to have to deal with me, and that may not be so much fun.

So, anyway, good to have you.  My name is Tumi Makgabo.  I am going to be the moderator of this conversation this morning, and I use the word "conversation" quite deliberately, because we not only want the people in the room to be participants in the conversation that I will be having with the President and the Secretary-General, but I also want to make sure that the people who are watching us online on the webcast are also going to be participating.  So, we will have inputs coming from those watching online.  There is a Twitter feed, so people will have their comments, input questions via the feed. 

We will also be having an opportunity for the people in the room to write on that little bit of paper that you were given, your questions, your comments, and your inputs.

We will ask that if there are--if the ladies who are on the side of the room or the gentlemen who are on the side of the room who will be collecting all the inputs can just make themselves known so we can see who you are.  

There is someone on that side and on this side--okay, somebody on that side is on the way.

So, please just raise your hand and make sure that you hand them in your comments on the cardboard so that we can get as many of your thoughts and inputs as we possibly can.

The other thing is I can see there's a lot of flashing of those little things called cellular phones.  There was a time when I could actually ask people to turn them off and put them away.  Now, I don't bother, because I don't think many people know how to turn their phones off.

[Laughter.]

MS. MAKGABO:  So, seeing as you don't know how to turn your phone off, I'm just going to ask if you can please keep it on silent or vibrate so that it doesn't interrupt our conversation and discussion.

I know many of you will be wanting to take some photographs, as well, please make sure that you can resist the urge to have your flash on when you do so.  That's the button that looks like lightning bolt.  If you press that, it will turn the flash off.

The other thing I also want to make sure is that when you do write your comments and your inputs, please do it as legibly as possible, because I'm going to have to read it, and I'd hate to miss a good comment because somebody was in a hurry to make sure that their comments are included.

If there are any doctors in the room, I think you'll have to give your comments verbally, because nobody can read doctors' handwriting.

[Laughter.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Right.  So, without any further ado, I would like to, of course, welcome onto the stage two very, very special people, and I love the fact that you're here together having this conversation.  I think it sends not only the right signal, but it gives us a lot of encouragement around the positive work that we're going to be seeing coming out of the United Nations, as well as the World Bank.

So, if you could please put your hands together, of course, for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the President of the World Bank, Jim Kim.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  But we also have some special guests sitting with us here in the front row, and I'm sure many of these names will be very familiar to you, as well.

I'm going to ask you if you can just stand for a moment to acknowledge.

Please welcome Trevor Manuel, the Minister in the Presidency in charge of National Planning in South Africa.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Mohamed Younis, Nobel Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Gunilla Carlsson, Minister of International Development in Sweden.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  And Maria Kiranuka, Minister of Finance in Uganda.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you so very much to each of you for joining us today and thank you--I'm looking very much forward to this conversation.

So, let's get this started.

One of the questions that we received from the online audience was a very basic one and it kind of made me chuckle, but I thought it was perhaps quite an appropriate question.  When you say "one wants to end poverty," the question is very specific.  What kind of poverty is it that you're trying to end, because in reality, when you live in the developing world, you understand that even in the context of being poor, there are many areas and ways in which people are poverty-stricken.

So, perhaps if I could begin with you, Mr. President, in addressing that.

DR. KIM:  Well, you know, we've been measuring poverty for a very long time, and one of the former Presidents of the World Bank Group, Robert McNamara, began talking absolute poverty, a condition of life that is so degraded, that is so bereft of the usual things that we think about in terms of what people need to survive that he focused the World Bank's efforts on attacking it.  And the level that we use now is $1.25 a day, and I've worked for most of adult life in settings, and I've known a lot of people who are living in absolute poverty, and what we're committed to here at the World Bank Group is to bring the level of absolute poverty down below 3 percent by 2030.

Now, that's going to be a very, very hard task.  We did great work from 1990 to 2010, when we halved the poverty rate, but a lot of the success was due to the fact that China grew so rapidly economically and lifted 600 million people out of poverty.

Now, what's left is a lot of really hard work.  We've got to make progress in South Asia, we've got to make progress in Sub-Saharan Africa.

And so, the sort of higher hanging fruit is what's left.  This is going to be really, really hard.

What I'm really excited about is that the Secretary-General has really brought a new kind of leadership in bringing all of the different multilateral institutions together.

We had a great meeting in Madrid under his leadership just a few weeks ago where we committed, throughout the UN system and throughout the international financial institutions, to work together on doing everything we can in the last thousand days to reach these targets, but we think that people living under $1.25 a day is, frankly, a stain on our collective conscience, and we're going to do everything we can to get that number down to less than 3 percent.

MS. MAKGABO:  Okay.

We're going to talk a little bit more in detail about the MDGs and the last 1,000 days.

But before we do that, SG, if I can come to you. 

Everybody has this conversation about poverty alleviation, how it's a stain on our consciousness, et cetera, if I may quote you--but the reality of the matter is that we've seen over decades that literally billions are being poured into the developing world in terms of aid and poverty alleviation projects.  And yet, we're still sitting with millions of people who don't have access to sanitation, let's not even talk about how many people are sleeping hungry every single day.

So, what is going wrong?

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  It's true that the world still faces very serious challenges of eradicating abject poverty.  As you said, almost one billion people go to bed hungry every night, and this is unacceptable situation.  That is why MDG goal number one is eradicating poverty and hunger.  And it is at the heart of our efforts to build the future we want.  There's a basic commitment of the international community when leaders gathered in 2000 and declared the Millennium Declaration, with all focus efforts to reduce hunger and poverty, I think as World Bank has announced in 2010, we are able to see that the number of abject poverty been cut--reduced by half.

But still, with continuing economic crises around the world, at least more than 100 million people have been pushed back to abject poverty.  That, we have to eradicate at this time.

I am very happy to work with President Kim of World Bank together very closely.  We are working on very specific issues like energy, education, and poverty, hunger eradication.  These are at the heart of sustainable development, which we are really pushing hard. 

What is necessary at this time, when we have left only less than 1,000 days, exactly 986 days to go--

MS. MAKGABO:  You would know that.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  Yes, and counting, because in Madrid all the heads of the UN agencies launched a 1,000-day countdown event.  We are now counting day by day.  We have to accelerate our efforts to fill the gap if we have a political will among the leaders.

And with robust financial support, I think this is something which we can do.  We have seen many such success stories.

DR. KIM: But Tumi, let me jump in, here.  I hear that a lot:  "Oh, well, you know, we've been putting all this aid into countries and it hasn't had any impact.”

But you know, we're here at a monetary and financial meeting where we're talking about, "Well, where are the countries that have been growing over the past five years?"

And what we know is that more than half of the growth over the past five years has come from developing countries.

So, for example, in Africa, I remember in 2000 when we were in the middle of the AIDS epidemic where there seemed to be no hope and we didn't even know if we could treat people, the 30 million people infected with HIV, there was a sense that, "My goodness, what's going to happen in Africa over the next decade?"  So, I tell you, Africa has grown at over 5 percent on average.  Now, we know that there are differences among the African countries, but to say that despite the economic crisis that the developing countries have been able to keep their growth rate at over 5 percent, and in fact keep global growth up, I think that means that we have been doing a lot of things right.

MS. MAKGABO:  But equally, the argument can be made that in much as we've seen that growth, in some--in many developing countries, that growth isn't in fact making it to those who are sitting at the bottom of that pyramid who are still going to bed hungry and so on.

DR. KIM:  Absolutely, absolutely.

MS. MAKGABO:  And I think that's really where the issue comes.

If I could come to Mohamed Younis on this issue, looking at the development for Grameen Bank, a very fertile environment where you came from for that kind of development, when we're looking at poverty alleviation, how do we go about thinking differently about the solutions that we identify that are going to be sustainable.

MR. YOUNIS:  I would emphasize on the institutional framework, first, for example, the banking institution which I am associated with, how can--to make it an inclusive institution so that nobody is left out of the banking institution.

We talk a lot about Grameen Bank, but 37 years after Grameen Bank, has the banking system changed?  It has not.  It has not opened up its doors.  We do something about it.  So, those are the fundamental issues.  Technology today in our hand, all this technology can address health care much more effectively--deliver it at home, not in a clinic, not in a hospital, but we are not focusing on that.

So, we need technology to go into it, and technology, to use it in a way education comes, like the children of the richest men, richest families in the world, whatever education they get, the children in the poorest families can get the same education because of the technology.  We can have a whole global university.  So, there should not be any illiterate person in this world, at this day and age, technology makes it happen.  You don't need a school, you don't need a teacher.  All you need is a brilliant software.  Everybody has a mobile phone today.  So, we are not talking about old age--all kind of stuff--so, we have to think in a different way

MS. MAKGABO:  If I could ask you to pass the microphone to Trevor Manuel.

Trevor Manuel, if I could ask you to stand, because everybody does actually want to see our speakers.  I should have asked you the same, so, my apologies.

Your work over the past couple of years in South Africa has very much focused on trying to think differently about some of the solutions we need in South Africa and potentially elsewhere on the continent when it comes to uplifting our people.

So, when we are having this conversation around poverty alleviation, what is it that you may say when you're looking at the work that's been done, we haven't been doing as well as we could have when trying to answer this specific question on poverty.

MR. MANUEL:  Tumi, at one level, I think that the measure that we use of $1.25 a day is too basic.  It doesn't take in account the fact that there are ravages that are not measurable in the same way that come through in the form of inequality.  Because what happens in societies where you have great inequality is that price changes set back people further.

And so, if we continue with the same measurement--it has moved from $1.00 to $1.25, it's one set of issues.

A second measure that is clearly flawed in the context is our preoccupation with measuring GDP.  That's an output measure, it's not a measure of what happens in the lives of people.  And these are, I think, the big challenges.  There's been extensive work.  Joe Stieglitz, Armatya Sen, and others have presented us with unimpeachable evidence about where the changes need to be. 

And then, I think that as we engage with that, it's beyond macroeconomic policy to focus on the micro.

What we know about poverty is that the setbacks in the lives of poor people recur.  War impacts more on poor people and sets them back.

Climate change frequently impacts more poor people who live on flood plains and so on or are exposed to fires, and disease: HIV/AIDS, malaria, and so on, impacts very extensively on poor people.

We need the measures to be able to deal with these things continuously because what happens is people like ourselves have insurance.  There's a calamity in our lives, we start again.  Poor people go back to less than zero, and that's what we need to understand in the context of the policies we make.

We aren't sufficiently focused, I submit, as a policymaker.  We aren't sufficiently focused on pro-poor policies.

MS. MAKGABO:  One of the concerns that I think oftentimes people who aren't either at policymaking level or sitting in financial institutions is the question of political will.  It came up a few moments ago when we were hearing your initial comments.

And there is sometimes a sense that there isn't sufficient real political will to amend.  There is a desire to have the conversation.  There is a desire to look at policy formulation and framework, but not necessarily the hard graft of looking at solutions that we have and saying, "This actually doesn't work."  Looking and saying, "Actually, this measure of a $1.00 a day, $1.25, isn't actually helping us," and that conversation isn't being had enough.

SG, if I can come to you, and perhaps to you, the President, thereafter, is there enough political will to sufficiently and adequately deal with this issue?

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  That's a very important question.  During the last six years--over past six years, I've been meeting hundreds, many hundreds of meetings with leaders, presidents, prime ministers, kings, and princesses, and what I have been doing most emphatically is that I need your political leadership, I need your political will.  After all, we're living in a world with limited resources.  There is no such country where people can say, "Well, we are living in a society of abundance.  We have no problem in terms of money, in terms of resources."  Every country is now going through difficulty.

Then, what matters is political will.  Suppose we have $1 million.  Now, where this $1 million could be used, invested?  That only depends upon the presidents, the prime ministers, and maybe finance ministers.  And that's why I'm here to meet the finance ministers.  In the end, after all, presidents sometimes have to negotiate with the finance ministers to allocate, appropriate the limited resources.

I have seen, in my life, for many such occasions, unfortunately, I would just frankly say that when they all come to the General Assembly, all the presidents say, "I am committed to addressing climate change.  I will do poverty eradication."  By the time they leave for JFK Airport, they just completely forget.

[Laughter.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Okay.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  By the time that they are--

[Applause.]

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  Now, just continuing, my experience, my observations is that there are many crises, political instability, let alone this poverty.  Then, why poverty eradication is important, my observations is that most of the political instability comes from abject despair, complete despair, hopelessness, when people don't see any hope, then there is only other--only one way to try to use some violence, try to change the status quo.  That leads to political instability.

There are three pillars in the United Nations Charter, that is, peace and security, development, and human rights, in a sense, justice.  Now, which one is more important?  I think they are equally important values and goals.  But I will always say that development is the key to every aspect of our life.  If there is no development, there is no hope for your wellbeing, then it breeds--it becomes a breeding ground of distrust that develops into conflict.  Small conflict becomes a regional and global conflict.  That is why we have to start from the basics of basic.  This is poverty eradication.  People need to be able to live without any fear of hunger.  That is what we are doing.  That is why MDG number one goal is hunger eradication.

In the course of this General Assembly, this negotiation and discussions to identify sustainable development goals, the broad consensus is that this hunger eradication should remain as number one priority in sustainable development agenda.

MS. MAKGABO:  It's interesting that you talk about this conversation and willing to commit when one is at the podium and by the time you get to the airport, it’s all forgotten.

Of course, Trevor Manuel is a former finance minister in South Africa, but we also have the Finance Minister of Uganda joining us here.  And I don't want to ask whether indeed you do that or not, because I think the obvious question would be no.

But let's talk a little bit about that transition, from the conversation around what needs to be done and the voicing of, "Yes, I'm committed to this," to actually turning that into action.

Marie, if I could come to you, when we were speaking a little bit earlier, I overheard you mentioning some of the work that you try to do at grassroots level.

Political will means absolutely nothing until one can actually turn it into tangible and effective change on the ground.

How does that happen?  Without necessarily having your ministerial hat on but looking at how do you make that transition between policy and effective change on the ground--not just change, but effective and sustainable change.

MS. KIWANUKA:  Thank you.

This is something we're looking at right now.

For instance, in Uganda, we've now climbed to having 76 percent of our population classified as non-poor, but about a third of those are classified as being vulnerable to skipping back into the poverty status.

So, what we--to make something effective, as Tumi has just asked, you have to work within reality.  What money do you have?  What can you do with your limited resources?

So, what we want to do is not to redistribute poverty by taxing the few rich and giving cash handouts for the purposes of dealing with ignorance and disease, but to tackle poverty, because it's a three-pronged approach.

By tackling poverty, by tackling agricultural productivity, which is where most of our people live in Uganda, we think that we can make it effective, and the political will, will be there because the people in the rural areas are the voters.  So, if the politicians see the voters are progressing, they'll also have the political will.

MS. MAKGABO:  Gunilla Carlsson, if I can come to you looking at the work that Sweden has been doing on this particular matter, it's not necessarily about political will that I want to ask you, but how to navigate that space of ensuring that whatever work is being done in either aid or looking at poverty alleviation projects or schemes, but it also is resulting in actual empowerment.  So, the work you've done has sustainability long after those who are delivering the aid is going to be there, because that's a fundamental problem in the developing world.

MS. CARLSSON:  Thank you.

Yes, and that's why I think we have to ask about the how, and I really welcome talking about leadership but also to have the will, and how do you end poverty? 

I think you have to have a good analysis about--that we now are entering, that it's not only our dream to end poverty in our world, but also to have a goal for that, and that's why I think the leadership here are so important to see also how we also define poverty.

It's not only lack of material resources.  You have also to be free from oppression and free from violence in order to be able to also--not only share prosperity but also to create prosperity.

And thereby, I will urge you in your leadership with the implementation of the how to really see the role of women and girls in the world, because that, I think, is paramount if we now would like to take the next step and make this sustainable, because we have an untapped potential, and that's a little bit how we have worked when it comes to being partners in development, but also when it comes to develop my own country from extreme poverty, actually, some more than 100 years ago and to what we are today.  And there is a huge potential.

So, my question back now to you is how are the World Bank and the UN going to work more concretely about this together, because we so much welcome your leadership.

MS. MAKGABO:  Okay.  So, how are the World Bank and--okay.

[Laughter.]

MS. MAKGABO:  I'd like--there are a number of things that I think you mentioned there that take us forward.  One is the question of gender equity.  We spoke a little about that in the context of Girl Rising, yesterday, the film, but I think we want to look at it more broadly.  I'll do so in a moment. 

But before we get there, there's a question here from our Twitter feed.  Sally Serina [phonetic] says, "Can the Bank explain how it will hold the private sector to account for its work in ending poverty?"

And I think that part of this also leads onto the question of corruption.  One of the things that one has to recognize is the impact that corruption has on perpetuating poverty and situations of poverty, and the fact, whether we like it or not, that oftentimes it is the very individuals who are either in the private sector or who are charged with trying to end poverty that are responsible for perpetuating it through corruption.

How do you begin to make sure that this stops, and soonest.

DR. KIM:  Tumi, that's about five questions.

MS. MAKGABO:  No, but it's only one.

[Laughter.]

DR. KIM:  So, going from the how to the questions.

So, Trevor, you're absolutely right that consumptive measures like $1.25 a day only capture part of it.

But I think what the Secretary-General said is really important, having goals changes the way you do work.  So, we're actually changing what we're doing by saying, "We're not going to measure poverty once every three years with two-year-old data.  We're going to measure it every year.“

And so, when the President gets on the plane at JFK, he knows that, when he comes back next year, we're going to know how he did in eradicating poverty, and we're going to have that data to be able to present every year.

Moreover, the other measure is, to what extent do the bottom 40 percent of a society participate in economic growth.  That's new for us.  I mean, we're directly tackling the inequality issue. 

But we're not saying that we're going to be happy if everybody makes $1.26 a day, and we're also not saying that there's one solution, all you need to do is get income up and you'll be fine.  What we're saying is there is a complex series of commitments that you have to make in any given country.  There's no one size fits all solution, but if you have these goals and you know we're measuring, having to stand up every year and say, "Here's how well we did in ending poverty.  Here's how well we did in ensuring that the bottom 40 percent participate in growth."  Then, if you add onto it, all the other things we already measure through the MDGs, then you've got a really good accountability structure.  That's a big part of how we do it.

You know, when you measure and you take that into account every year, every six months, people have to do the work.

Now, in terms of how you do it, there's so much that we know.  It's not just political correctness to say that putting women at the center of development is important.

Professor Younis taught us this so long ago that when you put the money in the hands of the women, they don't waste it, they don't use it for alcohol, they actually do well.

How many in this room know that this is true about giving money to women?  We all know that, right?

[Applause.]

DR. KIM:  So, the thing is, on the one hand, it's a very strong moral value, but the evidence is overwhelming that you've got to put women at the center.  We know that.

Also, what we know--just like Trevor said, if all you do is measure GDP growth, there are countries--and you know, the Arab Spring, if it taught us anything, it taught us that GDP growth without inclusion is fundamentally unstable.  That's our position.  So, when we go at these two goals, we do have a how.  Put women in the center, make sure that it's inclusive.  Make sure that, in your own development process, you take into account things like environmental impact, displacing people--we have our safeguards. 

Now, on the issue of the private sector, let me just put it this way.  To me, your view of the importance of the private sector is directly correlated to your aspirations for the poorest.  Because if you just think--if you just look at ODA, about $125 billion a year.

I just met with the Finance Minister of India this morning, and he told me that, in India, they have a $1 trillion infrastructure deficit just for the next five years.  So, all of ODA, all of the official development assistance combined won't even meet half of India's infrastructure development needs.  So, we've got to get the private sector involved.  Now, at the World Bank Group, we have the International Finance Corporation, and specifically what they do is they say, "We want to be sure that private investment, in infrastructure in ports, in roads, in telecommunications actually has the greatest development impact.”

So, our team at IFC, if--they get extra credit, they get better evaluations if the investments they make and the investments they bring in actually have a development impact.  That is at least part of the how.

MS. MAKGABO:  The same person was saying, "How can you ensure that the Bank's work with the private sector actually delivers for the poor?"

It's one thing to make sure that it delivers in the context that you ask when you're talking about infrastructure development and the deficit, but equally, how do you ensure that it delivers for the poor?

DR. KIM:  You have to have an absolute zero tolerance for corruption, and that's exactly the way we've done it.

And this was a very painful experience in Professor Younis' country, in Bangladesh, where we had to suspend work on a bridge and, in the process, we debarred a company.  We just did that, and it was the longest debarment in our history.  They are now prohibited for working on any of our projects for 10 years, and you have to have a complete, zero-tolerance approach and that is what we do in the World Bank Group.

MS. MAKGABO:  Mr. Secretary-General.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  Just adding to what President Kim said:  accountability is very important to bringing all our promises to be realized.  

There have been many promises.  Unfortunately, these days, the promise for official development assistance has been now declining.  This is very alarming.  I'm urging all ministers from developed world, OECD countries, to keep your promises.

Then, how can we make sure that these promises are kept?

Recently, we have introduced some dual mechanisms, sort of accountability commission.  When we established every woman, every child for maternal and child health, we established the accountability commission led by Prime Minister Harper of Canada and President Kikwete of Tanzania.  This is a dual initiative that any multilateral organization mechanisms has established, accountability commission.  So, we really want to make sure that whatever has been said should be kept.

Now, it's not only the lack of food when you have poverty crisis.  There are a lot of multifaceted problems.  First, good governance, corruptions, you don't know where all this aid is going, whether this money or food are going to the needy people, then we have to make sure that there should be an enhanced accountability in good governance.

That's why I'm always urging the leaders to make sure that there is--there should be accountability and good governance, and this, again, some distribution problems.  It's not that we are lacking food.  There is enough food when it comes to food crises.  It's simply because the pricing and distributions, because of that, we are suffering from food crisis.

MS. MAKGABO:  Here's a slightly cynical point, but I think in some instances it's the reality in many countries, and I'd like to come to the floor on this particular issue.

Philippe Andelay [phonetic] in the Congo says, "Most countries have low governance effectiveness.  In this case, wouldn’t corruption be a better solution assuming the corrupt official often uses the bribe more efficiently and effectively than the state would have had having a tighter budget?"

[Laughter.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Now, we all chuckle in the room because we know that that's sort of quite tongue in cheek, but there are environments where, in reality, people who are using the fruits of the corruption are doing better work than the governments themselves are doing.

DR. KIM:  Strategic bribery will never be a project at the World Bank Group.

[Laughter.]

MS. MAKGABO:  That's not what I'm suggesting.  But I think what it underscores in the context of this conversation is the reality that there is what we want to do within formal structures, there is what we want to do in the context of policy and formulation, but there is also the reality on the ground.  And one cannot function without recognizing that, in some countries, that is in fact the reality on the ground.

I'd like to come to Trevor Manuel for this.

MR. MANUEL:  Thanks, Tumi, I'd look to go back to something you said early about finance ministers:  you can only be a finance minister--and this is a medical fact, Jim, if you don't have a heart or a memory.  It doesn't work, in other words.

[Laughter.]

MR. MANUEL:  Look, I think that the work that we've done in developing a national development plan--it's very important in this room because it is in many ways counterintuitive.  We talk of leaders and we talk of governments, but we don't talk of active citizenry, and that, I think, is the essential ingredient that nobody focuses on sufficiently, because effective government has to be an outcome, not just of regular free and fair elections, but of a different kind of participation.

Esther Duflo uses a wonderful phrase of the three "I"s that impede development: ideology, ignorance, and the third one is inertia.  It's an outcome of the other two, as well, and you can only deal with that--and as South Africans, you and I, Tumi, we must rehabilitate the word "empowerment."  We must empower communities to engage in this very differently.

Without that, I think that we will repeat the same exercise.  I said to somebody, "These end poverty T-shirts are nice.  I have a T-shirt and a cap that are very old now because we have been talking about these things for a long time."

We actually need to move beyond governments and empower communities differently.

Thanks.

MS. MAKGABO:  Just on that point, Mr. Minister, there's a comment here from Daily Graphic in Ghana saying that, "How can the new vision to end extreme poverty ensure the inclusion of the poor themselves in the development process," number one.

And the other question from Sayodogu [phonetic] in Burkina Faso, says, "Can the World Bank create a mechanism to support social entrepreneurship in order to facilitate access to quality employment for the most vulnerable, particularly youth?"

Both of these questions, I believe, tie in very nicely with what you were saying around the issue of the work that the people on the ground themselves have to do.  And it's all great that we have the formal infrastructure, but how do we also look at creating the support and the mechanisms closer to the ground to effect change?

If I could come to the Minister from Uganda on that issue.  you mentioned earlier that you're thinking about it at the moment and this is the work that you're doing, but perhaps you can give us a little bit of an indication as to what some of those mechanisms are that allow for the creation of avenues and vehicles closer to the ground.

MS. KIWANUKA:  Okay.  I'll just start by saying that, yes, we have the formal structure and we need to build the informal structures, but we must not make the mistake of trying to build the informal structures the formal way.

I mean, now, we have in the developing world, we have NGOs and CSOs that are basically governments, without the name.  So, if we go to the actual people on the ground, we're talking--Gunilla mentioned women empowerment, for instance.  We all talk about women's rights, but actually the first thing we could do in a realistic sense, women are already empowered to work.  The first step that must be taken is they must be empowered to retain their earnings, and that is a very simple thing that doesn't need a lot of legislation.  She is already working, but how can she keep the money she gets?

When we look at microfinance institutions, that's another way of empowering through the private sector, we found that wherever the government went to try to start a microfinance organization, you got people coming together very quickly for the purpose of receiving the money and then they would disband again.  So, it has to come from the people themselves, and wherever you find a grassroots organization that's working on its own without any government help, that's the area to go.  That's the area to help them come out of the poverty trap.

I mentioned earlier that I consider poverty, ignorance and disease--we've been talking about health, we've been talking about education in the last few days, but that is nothing without tackling the poverty.

I was chairman of an NGO that distributed textbooks to girls in the rural schools.  So, I went up there one day to see how it was doing, and the mother of one of the girls said to me, "It's all very well, the textbooks, but couldn't you direct the money to giving her a proper breakfast, instead?"

So, if we can tackle the poverty, and that's why, as a Minister of Finance, without a heart or--

MS. MAKGABO:  Or a memory.

MS. KIWANUKA:  --or a memory.  But I think if we tackle the poverty first, then everything else will flow from that.

I left a challenge yesterday in the health conference, I don't know if it got read out before I left:  if the NGOs and the bilateral partners and everybody who is working in health; if in every country you pool all your resources together and say, "Right, in Uganda, we're going to eradicate malaria for this year” or in another country, “We're going to go after child immunization," and work together in that way, you get the best of the government and the best of the informal structures working together.

Thank you.

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you.

That brings us to the question of the Millennium Development Goals, and the work that both organizations--that being the World Bank and the United Nations--are trying to do in the next few years to eradicate poverty and effect change.

If we could talk about the MDGs for a moment, there has been a lot of progress made in the context of those--of the goals.  Less than 1,000--what did you say, 986 days remaining?  I almost said less than a thousand, and then I forgot who I was sitting with.  And so, less than 1,000 or 986 days left before the deadline.

A lot of positive work has been done, but there's also been a lot that could have been done better, and some areas that, frankly, one would argue and say they were rather dismal.

That obviously implies that something has to happen beyond 2015.  The assumption one can make, because you are both sitting here together is that you as a team want to try to tackle that issue.

So, two questions to you:  one, what is it that you're planning to do; and two, when looking at the fact that some of those targets won't be met, or as well as we would have liked them to be met, how do you look at the structure and mechanisms that you are either using or wanting to put in place to get those goals met, moving beyond 2015.

So, perhaps, SG, if I could begin with you.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  Now that we have a very limited time, we have to really accelerate to fill the gaps of the Millennium Development Goals while, as you said, we have achieved a lot in terms of poverty eradication, parity of boys and girls in primary education, and reducing the number of maternal and child health, et cetera.  But the scorecards are very much uneven depending upon where you go, then these countries, particularly the Sub-Saharan countries, there are many, many countries who are not going to be able to realize Millennium Development Goals.

That is why earlier this month, in the presence of all the heads of United Nation's specialized agencies, at the initiative of President Kim, and Kim--Dr. Kim and I are now going to review and analyze the work that needs to be done up to the end of December that will really accelerate country by country.

We have done Ghana, Niger, and Tanzania last month, but in November, we will do again.  Every six months we will check.

Then, what should be done?  There will be several Millennium Goals which will not be met by the end of this 2015.

We have already begun our work, very important work to find out what would be post-2015 development agenda for the future.  That we call a sustainable development in social, economic, and environmental dimension.

For example, I have established the high-level panel of eminent persons led by three prominent leaders of the word.  First, President Sirleaf for Liberia representing developing countries, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia representing emerging countries, and Prime Minister David Cameron of United Kingdom representing developed world.

The member states have already begun to identify what would be the sustainable development goals which will replace or build upon Millennium Development Goals.

They have already done two negotiation rounds.  It will continue until the end of next year.  I am going to provide the report and findings of the high-level panel of eminent persons to the General Assembly so this can be met and feed into this process.

My urge to the member states is that the Millennium Development Goals should carry over, the most of the unfinished targets, particularly the poverty eradication.  That is now being supported by most of the member states.  But whatever the goals, member states will agree, these goals must be a very concise, concrete, with accountability and coherent and easy to communicate.  It should not be a difficult one.

MDG has become a household name.  Everybody knows--even children know the MDG.  And SDG can--should be that way so that this will guide us coming 15 years until 2030, that how we can progress towards a more sustainable world where, by that time, we will have reduced the abject poverty, we will have reduced all this malaria, polio, tuberculosis, and maternal death.  We will have better empowerment of women, particularly women and girls.  Those are some broad visions which we are working very hard.  There are many tracks now going on, as I have explained.  It may be a little bit confusing.  But our goal is to have a very coherent and concise and concrete goals which we will have.  I am sure that the member states will come out with such a visionary development agenda post-2015.

DR. KIM:  Minister Carlson is on the Committee, as well.

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you.

If I could hear your thoughts on that question, because it was directed at both of you.

DR. KIM:  Yes, you know, I am very, very focused on these last 986 days.

The thing is that the MDG goals have been extremely important to frame our work, but the last 986 days, the really important thing is to not cruise to the end.  And what we're doing is saying the urgency of the last 986 days should help us all to accelerate our activity.

This is what we're doing with the Secretary-General's leadership.  It was really quite an experience to have the Country Director from the World Bank and the resident coordinator from those countries in the room with all these eminent leaders of these organizations telling us about the reality on the ground.

And so, bringing the reality of the ground to the boardrooms and to settings like this, like these meetings, this is what we need to do for the last 986 days.  I have not given up on a single MDG.

And when we launched the "Three by Five" HIV treatment target, we had only about 800 days for the whole thing to go from 50,000 people on treatment in Africa, to three million.  We didn't make it, but we got over a million, and it was the urgency of that short timespan that really pushed us forward.

So, there's been a lot of things done that were seemingly miraculous in a lot less than 986 days, so, I am not giving up and we're going to push, push, push until the very end.

MS. MAKGABO:  What's really exciting about this conversation is that, even though this room is pretty packed, we've got 83 countries represented online who are watching this conversation right now.

So, I think it is not just about those who are speaking at policy level.  And the reality is that most of those who will be watching online will be Joe Blog, like me--I won't say like you, but like me.

But one thing that I want us to talk a little bit about, and it's not something that has often been discussed, but I think it is equally important when it comes to this issue, and we received a question from Giles, and wanted this question addressed to the SG specifically, but I think it can go to both.

"Poverty is also about conflict-affected people.  In many regions, countries, such as Syria, Eastern Congo, the international community seems helpless.  What can the UN do to improve its role and be more efficient, have a bigger impact to end this?"

And the reality of the matter is, as indicated before and alluded to, as long as we are sitting with countries and people who are living in these conflict situations, some of what we are talking about here, the formal structures, the plans, the initiatives, the NGO work, doesn't happen because it's an environment of conflict. 

So, SG, if, again, I could begin with you, and I'd like to hear the President's thoughts on that, as well.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  I think have partially answered already in my previous remarks.

MS. MAKGABO:  Partially.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  Now, there are many conflict areas, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Great Lakes Region.

Why this happens, because of poverty and hopelessness and despair, because when they don't have any hope then it really creates political instability.

Then, when we look on this conflict itself, it's not because of political issues.  As I said, it's deeply related to development issues.  That is why, for the first time maybe--I think for the first time in the history of the United Nations and the World Bank, both President Kim and I agreed, let us visit Great Lakes Region together next month, starting from Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

We have been able to broker a peace deal on February 24th.  Again, it's quite a remarkable success in terms of diplomacy, preventative diplomacy, that 11 countries neighboring the border with DLC and four guarantors, the United Nations and Mozambique representing southern development community--development of Africa, and also International Conference on Great Lakes Region, Uganda, and United nations.  Eleven leaders came and signed this peace deal and with the four guarantors signed as witness. 

Then, important thing would be implemented.  Then, another important aspect would be how much--what kind of hope we can deliver to these people. 

That's why President Kim is going with all these good development packages on the World Bank.  I think this will be a good example how we can work together in political side and development side, joined together, and try to resolve the problems comprehensively, comprehensively.

There are many places which I, as Secretary-General, find it almost impossible or difficult, at best, to sensitive--to answer questions.  "Can you bring peace to Syria tomorrow?"  I'm not able to say yes or no.

But when we have some concrete examples like we are going to see in the Great Lakes Region, I think we will see much better hope.

MS. MAKGABO:  Let's hear a little bit more about that, your visit to the Great Lakes and some of the aims of that exercise, because I think what's evident whenever one is talking about poverty alleviation is that it is a multi-pronged approach.  It is not just one thing that is going to provide the solution.

I'd like to hear a little bit about that, and if I could ask you to be brief because I'd like to hear one more word from our front row before we begin wrapping up, because an hour is almost up.

DR. KIM:  So, the fundamental idea, again, under the Secretary-General's leadership, is that the international financial institutions and the UN, it was always intended that we would work together hand-in-glove.

And so, we thought that where we could start that is in some of the most difficult places.  We are starting in the Great Lakes Region but we are also talking about potentially going to other places like the Sahel.

And the idea is that if you can link political security and development solutions, how much more effective can you be?

In other words, if there's a sense that signing a peace treaty and working on security means that it's going to be much easier to bring investment, not only in terms of development assistance, but in terms of bringing private sector investment.  I mean, in order to solve the energy deficiency in that whole Region, we're going to need public-private partnerships, and without political stability and security, we're not going to be able to do that.

So, the fact that we're going to have that conversation together, the Secretary-General and I, the leaders of that Region, I think that is going to be very powerful, because often what happens is there's a peace treaty, security forces are sent in, then the development organizations come in, and by that time you've lost so much time that people begin to lose hope and they begin to take up arms again. 

So, we're not exactly sure how this is going to go, but again, this is why it is just so important that the Secretary-General's leadership in bringing all of us together can potentially take us down a different path.

MS. MAKGABO:  Mohamed Younis, if I could come to you, a lot of the work that you did was very, very new, it was very innovative, it was ground breaking.  Again, if we can elaborate just for a moment on your views and the work you that did in trying to think differently around how we approach forward--and I'm talking specifically post-2015, how do we go about doing that?

MR. YOUNIS:  Well, first of all, the institutions and policies which have created poverty are not good enough to solve poverty.  So, if you are going to solve poverty, you have to be coming out of the mold of that existing, old-fashioned institutions and foreign policies and thinking.  That is a very simple fact.

For example, human creativity is very unlimited.  Total creativity is increasing, technology is increasing, but it's all controlled by the businesses.

So, businesses are for making money.  So, that's a conceptual thing, an economic framework that we have that businesses have to be profit-maximizing institutions, but human beings are not money-making robots, ultimately, that's where all the problems come.

So, why can't we create other kinds of businesses alongside what--we're not saying that those businesses have to close down.  Businesses to solve problems in a business way, but not for making money out of it, and I've been calling it a social business.

MS. MAKGABO:  So, what does that mean, though, when you say that we need to not look at necessarily the solution coming from business environment?

I think it's easy to say that, but in reality, how do you do that?  Is it a question of supporting NGO work?  Is it a question of additional funding?

MR. YOUNIS:  No, it's--

MS. MAKGABO:  Is it a question of creating spaces where people can come together and come up with their own ideas?  What is it?

MR. YOUNIS:  It's a conceptual world.  If you can accept that you can run businesses for solving problems without having any intention of making money, new classes of business will come in, and that's what we have been creating, and many people are joining in.  Many multinational companies are joining in.  So, it's not something frightening, people want to do that, but the conceptual framework doesn't allow that.

So, if we create, say, social business fund in each country, then young people, business people, and communities will come up with ideas how to solve the problem of poverty, how to solve the problem of health care, how to solve the problem of environment.  It's all the creativity is not located in one institution, say World Bank or United Nations.  People have the creativity.  Somehow, we got stuck with the government idea.  Government works to the bureaucracy.  Bureaucracy is not known to be the most creative institution in the world.

So, it is the people sector which has all the creative power.  So, we have to bring the creative power in the world, in the business world.  For example, governments are more on handouts and charity and way that they can spend their money.  That's why the corruption issue becomes such an important thing.  Business people are always busy making money.  So, they don't want to solve any problem.  So, what happens to the rest of the world, to the people?

So, we can create other kinds of businesses and everybody can join in, anybody can join in, and today's young people--we have not talked about the young people--it's a completely different force.  The 15-year-old today is much more powerful, much more creative, much more informed than a 30-year-old of the previous generation.  But we are not including them in.  They are the ones who--if we allow them to come up with the creative capacity, all these questions can be answered in a very different way.

 That's the most important thing to do.

MS. MAKGABO:  I think that's a very interesting thought.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  And SG--I know I may get wrapped over the knuckles a little bit for doing this, but I think I can handle--I would suggest that the conversation with the eminent persons ensures that we include the youth, and that we include the people who are actually working on the ground, because no doubt, one of the challenges when one is perpetually speaking to the same types of people, you don’t' get the refreshing ideas.

Thank you very much, Professor Younis--

MR. YOUNIS:  Just one word.

MS. MAKGABO:  Oh, you've got more?  Okay.

MR. YOUNIS:  Using social businesses to solve problems, we also can undertake large social issues as a social business.

Like, we are talking about reforesting all of Haiti.  Haiti has lost all of its forest coverage and only 2 percent left.  I say, "This is a beautiful social business."

If you are not making money but you are creating income, you are creating jobs for people, it's a wonderful thing.  It can reforest the whole of Haiti in a business way--not in a moneymaking business way but in a social business way so that people benefit.

So, that's the kind of challenges.  We can sit down, we can talk, how to make it happen.  It's possible.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Yes.

Gullina Carlsson, I think there's no denying that, in the hour that we've had, there is absolutely no way that we can touch on all the elements that contribute to this debate or this discussion, but the reality of the matter is that one of the things that you've kept saying, certainly before we came out, as well, was the how, the how, the how, and the how can, on one hand, be theoretic, but perhaps if you were to highlight three things that we could look at doing almost immediately, what would they be, in dealing with the how?

MINISTER CARLSSON:  Thank you.

I think what we have said is to think new first, because there is a totally different world from the year 2000, and we have an absolutely fantastic task ahead of us to end poverty in our time, so let's do it with "think new" and to realize that there are new actors out there.

Second, is the how--I think we should focus.  We have to see that this is of course a very broad agenda to create development.  It takes a lot.  But I think the Bank and the United Nations, in such a good cooperation should really focus on really ending poverty and reach the poorest of the poor to have legitimacy.  So, focus more.

And then, if we say that--

MS. MAKGABO:  Sorry, can I just ask you, when you say "focus more," the suggestion is that we are not focused at the moment.  And looking at the list of MDG goals, I would like to get a sense of, when you say, "focus," what is it that you mean when you say "focused"?

MINISTER CARLSSON:  I think because it is--

MS. MAKGABO:  Do we need one project, only one thing that we do?  Do we need to segment--

MINISTER CARLSSON:  No, really to see that you measure to see that you really reach the poorest people.  And you see, really, what we're talking about here can also be felt and make a difference for the poorest people that are out there, perhaps listening to this conversation, and I think we have to focus on that and that leads us from leadership to will and to the how, and I think we haven't done good enough there yet, but we see very good progress in the way we are working with strategies.  But I think we have to remind us about that.

And then, the last thing is about this with partnerships and leadership.  It is not only about politics.  It is about how we--in this new environment with more focus can engage with partnership to see that we are all steering into this direction, because we have a golden opportunity.  Many people are at risk.  Some are still in extreme poverty, and we now can make it, but that means that we see that the world is changing, that there is a need for focus, and also that we have to have better partnership in order to solve this.

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you.

Trevor Manuel, if I could ask you three things that we could do immediately to address this question of poverty alleviation and trying to think differently.  Three things.

MR. MANUEL:  I think the issues that Gunilla and Mohamed have raised are fundamentally important.

When we were drawing up a plan, perhaps the most valuable part of it was an online discussion with just over 10,000 young South Africans, and we made sure that they were young and the contributions were very positive, and that's the kind of inclusiveness that drives change, because I think we allow for society or democracy to flourish by having an upward pressure on it, and I think that that's fundamentally important.

The second issue--and just in case it was misunderstood about having targets and measures, no, the MDGs are fundamentally important, but we must ensure that countries can measure and that people know what the measurements are. 

And in too many parts of the African continent, we don't have statistical capacity.  And part of the empowerment equation must include ensuring that there is that--and the UMECA has made this commitment with us to drive statistical capacity on the continent.

And the third issue is actually to ensure that the resources are spread in a way where people can take the initiative, whether it's been agriculture, urban poverty, which includes issues like food banks and so on, not doing it for people but ensuring that we can catalyze action by involving people in dealing with their everyday lives I think is going to be the richness of the change.

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you.

Maria Kiranuka, if I can come to you, your three things that we can do.

MINISTER KIRANUKA:  Thank you.

At the risk of sounding parochial, I think the upcoming visit of the Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank to the Great Lakes Region, my Region, it is basically where we can start.

Because the Bank and the UN have had the courage now to come down into the trenches with us on the ground in a conflict--in an area that has conflict matters, in an area that has MDG matters and poverty issues, to break down the world "political" into its component parts, which is social and economic--social and economic.

And to see how we can--to bring ideas to us--I'm neither eminent nor a youth, so in a way I am a bit of an observer--to see how can we bring sustainable--coming out of poverty to more people, and that can only be done by being inclusive.

In order to be sustainable politically, you must be inclusive; in order to be sustainable economically, you have to be measurable.

So, that's the challenge, I think, the Bank and the UN are going to find when they come to the Great Lakes, those three things: breaking down the component parts, being sustainable, and being inclusive towards ending conflicts in our area.

So, thank you very much.  Karibu [phonetic], to the Great Lakes.

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:  Final remarks, Mr. SG, if could come to you.

Yes, it says, "Five minutes, wrap."

Thank you.

If I could come to you on that note, we understand that in the broad context of what it is that you're trying to achieve, and I think certainly in looking at some of the work and the conversations and efforts recently, there's a clear indication that the way in which you're going about business, not just as the UN, but in conjunction with the World Bank is different to what we have seen in the past.

But let's just ask you, personally, looking forward, three things that you think you want to be sure to do within the next, for argument's sake, 12 months, that not necessarily at policy level, but you want to ensure we achieve to bring us closer to ending poverty.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KI-MOON:  I'm afraid to say that we may be standing on a tipping point, depending upon how we do from now until 986 days we will be able to achieve these Millennium Development Goals.

What needs to be done?  First, as the Secretary-General, I'll try to mobilize and enhance the political will, strong political will.

Then, secondly, try to forge a strong partnership, between government, business communities, and civil societies.  Nobody can do it alone.

But anybody can do some.  When three coalitions get together, I think we can do it, then mobilize as much resources as possible within our power.  These are three areas which we can make things move.  Otherwise, we will fail.

Then, we have to move toward MDG--post-MDG, post-2015, and how to define and how to identify the goals which we will have to work together coming 15 years by 2030 that we have to discuss the energy--energy can bring all the important tools which we have.

Is it fair that still many women, they give birth without electricity.  Even though I have not seen for myself, when I was born, my mother gave birth without electricity in the darkness with just a kerosene lamp.  But we must not deliver this--hand over this kind of world to our succeeding generations.  That is why we are here.  We have to empower women and girls.  Women hold half the sky.  We are not--we have been utilizing all the resources available to us, but least utilized resources are human capital and human potential of our women.  If we use 50 percent of unused potential of women, I think we can at least double the speed of Millennium Development Goals.  We can meet all these challenges.  Therefore, all this kind of should be addressed comprehensively to make the world better for all.  After all, the future is in our hands.

Thank you.

MS. MAKGABO:  Thank you, thank you.

And yourself, Mr. President, three things.

DR. KIM:  Well, I would like to see the world and the people who are concerned about development, the people in this room, take a lesson from the great movements in history.

You know, I always quote Dr. Martin Luther King because the civil rights movement was in some ways such a powerful signal of what can be done if people share a purpose.

And so, I've been a part of movements all along.  I mean, many people know that I was part of the "50 Years is Enough" movement, arguing some years ago that we should get rid of the World Bank, and thankfully, we didn't win that argument. 

[Laughter.]

DR. KIM:  But you know, for example, I've been a part of the HIV movement.  There are so many movements that can accomplish so many different things.  I'd like to see several movements grow up over the next 12 months.

One, a real movement to do everything we can to accomplish the MDGs.  You know, the 986 days' pressure, what we are going to do with our meetings under the Secretary-General's leadership is, every six months, we're going to say, "Here's how we're doing."  And we really need to make some movement here, here--and we're going to call countries out--especially those that are successful--I'd like to feel that there's movement.

I'd like to see a movement really take shape around ending poverty.  You know, ending poverty is something--just to imagine that we could end poverty in our lifetime, that should be very exciting for everyone.  And it's going to shape the way we do our work.

We're already beginning to say, "Well, so, if you really want to end poverty, what should our work look like India?"  Well, we should target the poorest states.

And finally, I'd like to see a movement, a real movement, around tackling climate change, because it's not just about enjoying nature walks.  It's about food.  What we know is that if we are engaging in climate-smart agriculture, we can both increase yields, which improves food security and put more carbon back into the ground.

Why would we not do that?  We know that if we are very aggressive we can provide energy for all of Africa, but with a very high percentage of renewable energy.

We know that we can build cleaner cities.  I was just in Delhi and saw all the buses, even the little motorcycles, running on natural gas.   There are things we can do right now.

And you know, I think that there are different people concerned with these different areas, but there's got to be this sense that we're part of a movement to, right now, begin the process of transforming our world.

I know we can do it, I've seen it before, I've participated in them.  If we can make that happen, just imagine what the world would look like in a few years.

MS. MAKGABO:  To our guests, thank you very much.

[Applause.]

MS. MAKGABO:   I was just about to say to you, you know you've just started a whole conversation and I can't even go there, because time is up.  So, we'll have to save climate change for another day.

To all of our guests, thank you so very much for joining us.  We appreciated your thoughts and your inputs.

To the audience, thank you.

Thank you to the Secretary-General.

Mr. President, thank you.  I don't know if you want to say a few words.

DR. KIM:  Thank you very much everyone for coming, we're grateful.  Thank you.

 


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