Global leaders set to meet at UN to chart progress towards development goals

24 September 2008 – Almost 100 world leaders are converging on the United Nations on Thursday for a high-level meeting to assess how to translate commitments into effective action to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

The gathering at UN Headquarters in New York, convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto, seeks to pinpoint gaps and identify steps to take to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs.

“It is my firm hope that we will be able to look back on this day as the moment when the world got back on track to reaching the Goals,” Mr. Ban said in advance of the day-long event.

A recent UN report found that soaring food and fuel prices and the global economic downturn are impeding advances in such targets as eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and reducing child mortality, jeopardizing the likelihood of achieving some of the Goals.

Nearly two dozen of the world’s biggest philanthropic foundations will also take part in Thursday’s meeting, which comes on the heels of a high-level gathering held on Monday to examine Africa’s development needs.

Several events will also be held on the sidelines of Thursday’s event, such as the launch of the Global Malaria Action Plan.

That plan aims to slash malaria deaths to near zero by 2015 and will be launched by the Secretary-General, along with rock star Bono, philanthropist Bill Gates, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, World Bank head Robert Zoellick, and others. Billions of dollars in new funding to curb the spread of malaria and boost research will be announced.

Thursday is also the third day of the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment, and it is slated to hear from the heads of State and government of such nations as Tajikistan, Iraq, Timor-Leste, Zimbabwe and Spain.


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