UN announces awards telecast for Millennium Development Goals

Nile Rodgers and Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa

12 September 2007 – The United Nations will organize a telecast next year to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), officials announced today as internationally renowned musician and producer Nile Rodgers presented General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa with a special award in recognition of her work in promoting the set of global anti-poverty targets.

The MDG Festival, planned for June 2008, will feature high-profile international celebrities and entertainers and will present awards for outstanding achievements by businesses, governments, civic organizations and members of the development community, organizers told reporters at a press briefing in New York.

Grammy Awards producer and lifetime achievement award winner Nile Rodgers, who will produce the event, said it would serve to highlight the importance and possibility of accomplishing the internationally agreed goals by 2015.

“It will create greater awareness and commitment to the MDGs by the general public, by schools and by the business community,” he said.

Receiving the award in special recognition of her important work in promoting the MDGs, Sheikha Haya urged action to achieve reach the Goals. “The situation is serious, but there is hope. Our common purpose must be to build a global alliance – a global partnership – a truly lasting political consensus to achieve the MDGs on time. This is truly the greatest gift that we could give to humanity.”

Also speaking at the press briefing, Ambassador Francis Lorenzo of the Dominican Republic emphasized the need for joint action. Bringing together civil society, the private sector and governments “is the only way we can achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.

A focal point of the campaign in the next several months will be a website for global networking where applicants and nominees for awards can post videos, photo galleries and achievements. A panel of judges from UN agencies, independent foundations and other experts will review applications and the general public will be able to vote and make donations to nominees online.

Stressing that the MDGs form “the basis of our economic and social planning for the coming years,” Ambassador Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy of Madagascar said the Festival “will be a great opportunity for all countries to show what they are doing.”

“It will be entertaining and informative. It will be a project hat should give a lot of horsepower to this effort,” said Mr. Rodgers, whose work ranges across the years, from 1978’s “Le Freak,” which hit No. 1 and became Warner Brothers’ biggest selling single of all time, to collaborations with artists like David Bowie and Madonna in the 1980s, Mariah Carey in the 1990s, and Joss Stone during the current decade.

“I can promise you that there’s something coming that’s going to be wonderful and great, spiritually rewarding, very, very entertaining. It’s going to be good stuff,” he said.

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