Your Excellency the Chairman of the High-Level Meeting of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations,
Mr Kofi Annan,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me begin by congratulating you and your co-Chairperson for accepting the onerous task of presiding over this epochal event, an event that we all hope will have a positive impact on the lives of many of the citizens of the world. I am confident that your able leadership will successfully carry us through this Session.
Five years ago, we met here in New York at the Millennium Summit and agreed on 8 development goals (MDGs) that we believed were realistic and achievable. We were hopeful that, all things being equal, we would be able to meet the targets we set for ourselves in order to achieve those goals.
It is now for us to review the progress we have made in implementing the Millennium Declaration. Regrettably, for many developing countries, including Zimbabwe all things have not been equal. Our national progress report, launched recently, shows that our efforts have been seriously affected by recurrent droughts and floods, HIV and AIDS and unilateral sanctions imposed on us by countries that do not wish us well. As a result, we are lagging behind on many of our targets. While the challenges are great, so is our commitment to achieving our MDGs even with our limited means. Our achievements in the area of universal primary education are a testimony to this resolve. We have also committed ourselves to addressing extreme poverty and hunger by redistributing land to the majority of our citizens who had been condemned to conditions of squalor by years of colonialism and its vestiges.