In the run up to 2015, the British Government and the US are working with developing countries, the business world and public organisations to inspire action as we strive to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

To this end, we kicked off in New York this week with the first ever MDG Countdown event, highlighting game-changing programmes, policies and partnerships from around the world that could be replicated by others. We were thrilled with this first event that took place on 21 September during the UN General Assembly, with stories of transformational change from Brazil, Gambia, Zambia, Peru, Ethiopia, Nepal, Vietnam and the GAVI Alliance.

Many of these stories of change, innovation and success involve empowering girls and women. We know that investing in them reaps huge rewards. We want to see a generation of educated girls with greater economic opportunities and reduced risks of death and illness in pregnancy and childbirth. Educated women marry later, have fewer and healthier children and send those children to school. They are able to work and become the doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs who will propel their countries towards sustainable economic growth.

There is also much USAID and DFID are learning from each other to transform the impact of our own efforts to reduce poverty and make the world a more secure place. I am excited by Raj Shah’s USAID Forward agenda and the pioneering work USAID is doing on innovation for development. I’m delighted to be your guest at the USAID Development Forum townhall discussion today and welcome the chance to hear from USAID staff.

In May this year, Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama signed the US-UK Partnership for Global Development, marking a new era in our relationship. It sets out the areas where we will focus our collective efforts – combating poverty through economic growth, preventing conflict and improving global health, particularly for women.

With only four years to go until the deadline for meeting the MDGs, the time for warm words is over. We must take action to deliver real results for the world’s poor. We hope that the international development community is inspired by MDG Countdown and will make ambitious commitments to achieve better results at the upcoming High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in South Korea.