UN General Assembly Checks on Millennium Development Goals

By Dialogo
September 23, 2010

Nearly 140 heads of State and government met for the Millennium Development Goals Summit from September 20-22 at the United Nations in New York.

The Summit was held to review progress, identify gaps and commit to concrete steps to meet the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2000. These include eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, according to the UN News Service.

During his inaugural address to the General Assembly’s High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs, President of the General Assembly Joseph Deiss urged countries, donors, the civil society and the private sector to cooperate more closely to reach the MDGs, emphasizing that a global partnership is key to reaching the goals.

Deiss stressed that it is the moral duty of the international community to care about the well-being of its weakest members, but called for broad-based partnerships to achieve this by the target date of 2015.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, for his part, called on world leaders to reaffirm their commitment to reducing global poverty, hunger and disease within the next five years, said Voice of America News (VOA).

“Together we created a blueprint for ending extreme poverty. We defined achievable targets and timetables,” said Ban in reference to the great breakthrough the agreement had represented in 2000.

“We established a framework that all partners, even those with different views have been able to embrace,” he continued, as reported by VOA.
Both UN representatives highlighted that much has been done already since 2000, but that there is still much more to do.

Secretary General Ban listed some of the achievements, including:

-New thinking and path-breaking public-private partnerships
-Dramatic increases in school enrollment
-Expanded access to clean water
-Better control of disease
-The spread of technology, from mobile to green

But Ban also agreed with Deiss in that progress has been uneven and that “we are lagging behind in some regions, including Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Deiss also pointed out that some areas are falling short, “especially with regard to eradicating hunger, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health,” reported the UN News Service.

Participants took turns in addressing the meeting and held round-table discussions to find ways to concentrate their efforts to meet the goals in the coming five years.

“Let us be frank and acknowledge that whatever we say or agree in the coming days are only words unless in the poorest countries and poorest communities the poor start to see improvements in their lives,” said Ali Treki, president to the preceding General Assembly and co-chair of the current high-level plenary meeting on the MDGs.

He agreed with his counterparts Ban and Deiss that although much has been done, much more needs to be done still, concluded the UN News Service report.