Mr. Annan’s remarks were delivered at the 10th St. Petersburg International Forum by Marek Belka, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), to an audience of high-level policy makers, industrialists, bankers and representatives from various international organizations and financial institutions gathered in the Russian city.Ministers of Economic Affairs of Brazil, India, China and Russia – countries that in recent years have been the world leaders in economic growth rate – are also attending the three-day event.“The remarkable economic growth of Brazil, China, India and Russia has brought prosperity to many, and lifted millions more out of extreme poverty. Yet tremendous challenges remain. Economic gains have been unevenly distributed, and the ranks of the poor are still large.”“Our challenge is to sustain the progress that has been achieved while addressing the remaining backlog of need. For this, further reforms – economic, political, legal, judicial and regulatory – are essential. We must clarify and institutionalize the rules underpinning investment and development, while increasing investments in health, education, training and research.”Mr. Annan said that such an “ambitious agenda” demands the active participation of both the public and the private sectors, working together to achieve shared goals, but he added that the trend in this regard was promising.“Cooperation between civil society and governments is on the rise, environmentally sustainable practices are gaining ground, corporate social responsibility enjoys wider acceptance, and public-private partnerships are increasingly being employed to investment in critical sectors such as education and infrastructure.”The Secretary-General said that such developments are important not only to sustain economic growth, but also for the broader objective of defeating poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to slash a host of socio-economic ills by 2015.“Developing countries should not be condemned, by the weight of tradition or their own poverty, to do what their predecessors have done. We cannot deny their need to industrialize, but this can be done in cleaner ways. And the developed countries have a responsibility to help by, for instance, building capacity and transferring technology and know-how.”Mr. Annan said that the Forum can not only contribute to dialogue on these issues but can also provide a basis for discussion by leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialised countries at next month’s summit that will also be held in St. Petersburg.