21 December 2009 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on world leaders to attend a summit next September to boost efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to slash a host of social ills, ranging from extreme poverty and hunger to maternal and infant mortality to lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015.
“Coming amid mixed progress toward the Goals and new crises that threaten the global effort to halve extreme poverty, the summit will be a crucially important opportunity to redouble our efforts to meet the Goals,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, referring to the targets adopted at the UN Millennium Summit of 2000.
Next year’s summit at United Nations Headquarters, called for in a General Assembly resolution earlier today, will be held in conjunction with the start of the Assembly’s annual General Debate which routinely brings dozens of heads of State and government to New York.
“Just as now is the moment to act on climate change, the next half-decade must be the time to deliver on long-standing development promises to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people – above all, those in Africa,” Mr. Ban said.
“In the decade since the Goals were first agreed, we have learned a great deal about what works, and where we need to focus our efforts. Evidence shows that the Goals can be achieved, even in the poorest countries, when good policies and projects are backed by adequate resources.”
He noted that the MDGs have triggered unprecedented efforts worldwide in the fight against poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction, but stressed that “we can and must do more, especially given the growing impact of climate change, increasing global hunger, and continuing fallout from the economic and financial crisis.”
He urges the heads of State and government to “engage fully in ensuring a successful, practical, action-oriented outcome that delivers results for the billions of people struggling to meet their basic needs and to live in dignity and peace.”
At the two-thirds mark to their hoped-for attainment, the MDGs are facing significant challenges in some regions, particularly Africa.
The eight goals are: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
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