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Sunday, September 28, 2008

"In My Name: MDG Call to Action "

New York, United States

Eight years ago, with an eye to our own future and a belief that this could be the moment humanity would begin to redeem itself, we made a promise to the world and to ourselves -- to reduce child mortality… halve poverty… eradicate inequality.                                                        

And from food… to clean water… to immunizations… to education… our progress toward the Millennium Development Goals has given hundreds of millions of people a chance to live a better life. 

But behind these hundreds of millions lie hundreds of millions more – sons and daughters, husbands and wives – who still are struggling just to survive in a world of unparalleled abundance. 

Right now we are failing to meet more than half of our MDG targets by our 2015  deadline. 

We teach our children to keep their promises… but we’ve only kept half of ours. And much like half a book, half a boat, or half a brain, half a promise will never finish what it started, will never float, and will never reflect our true potential. 

Really, half a promise is no promise at all. 

Half a promise is an injustice.  

We know it is a disgrace when a family must live without running water or sanitation. 

We know it is a tragedy when a girl must stay at home while her brother goes to school. 

We know it is a crime when giving birth becomes a death sentence for a mother – simply because she has no access to the most basic medical care. 

And while our half promise takes its toll on millions of lives half-lived, it also symbolizes the lost profit, the lost prosperity, and the lost potential –spiritual and material – of the whole world.  

Failing to keep our promise to the weak and the vulnerable should stir the deepest emotions of our souls, should inspire our most basic instincts of justice. 

How can we justify holding out our hand to the young, the infirm and the desperate… only to take it away again? Because that's what we're doing, in my name and in your name. Is that what we want? 

Absolutely not! 

In my name, I want all children to go to school. 

In my name, I want the air they breathe, the food they eat and the water they drink to be abundant and clean. 

In my name, I want their mothers to survive childbirth, vaccinate their young and watch their daughters thrive. 

I want my name to be part of that great generation that embraced a stranger as a neighbour and helped humanity out of poverty. 

So in the name of equality, justice, and peace … 

In my name and in your name, let's fulfill the promise of the millennium. 

And now to names we all recognize: Will.I.Am, Angelique Kidjo, and Apl.de.ap