15 - 16 November 2006, United Nations, New York



13:30-14:45 Conference Room 2

Moderator: Mr. Johan Schölvinck, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA
Prof. Pedro Sanchez
, Director, Millennium Villages Project, Director, Center for Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Dr. Patrick Mutuo, Science Coordinator, Millennium Villages Project

Session organized by DESA

The Millennium Villages Project is a revolutionary, bottom-up approach developed by experts in policy and science at the Earth Institute and the UN Millennium Project—but led and driven by community members—to lift some of the poorest areas of the world out of extreme poverty.

The UN Millennium Project was commissioned by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2002 to develop a concrete action plan for the world to reverse the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people worldwide. Under the leadership of Jeffrey D. Sachs, UN Millennium Task Forces were created to plot out a way forward to achieve the Millennium Development Goals—eight targets to reducing or ending inequality, disease, hunger and other pressing issues of our time.

Based on the recommendations made by the Task Forces, rapid development of selected villages in Africa is tackling poverty in all its complex dimensions—from preventing and treating malaria to improving farming methods for robust harvests—at a cost of just $110 per person per year for five years. The Millennium Villages are a true reflection of how the integration of diverse scientific approaches can yield measurable results that are already affecting the lives of the most vulnerable.

Along with experts from the UN Millennium Project and its Scientific Council, Earth Institute researchers across a spectrum of fields, including agriculture, nutrition and health, economics, energy, water, and information technology, are working side by side with community members to end poverty at its root. They are applying a proven holistic package of 10 key interventions to help villages become productive and sustainable communities with real hope for the future:

Training in agricultural and agro-forestry techniques to dramatically increase farm production while enhancing soil health with fertilizers and drought-resistant seeds

Building, stocking and staffing functional health clinics to address the daily health needs of the village

Providing critical, life-saving medicines for malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases as well as preventive measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets

Alleviating household burdens through improved infrastructure such as transport and roads

Providing free, daily school lunches using locally produced food to support nutrition, learning capacity and school attendance

Implementing innovative energy alternatives that are inexpensive and long lasting

Increasing access to safe drinking water to eliminate disease and alleviate the burden on women and children

Increasing access to information with wireless Internet services and computers

Helping communities thrive economically by helping them make the transition from subsistence farmers to small-scale entrepreneurs and making markets work for the poor

The Millennium Villages launched its first project site with Sauri, Kenya, in 2004, and later in Koraro, Ethiopia—each home to about 5,000 people. The Earth Institute is working to scale up its reach to include one hundred Millennium Villages. Today, Villages have been started or will be initiated throughout distinct African agro-ecological zones that include 68 villages in a total of 10 countries:

                        • Ethiopia                      • Nigeria
                        • Ghana                        • Rwanda
                        • Kenya                         • Senegal
                        • Mali                             • Tanzania
                        • Malawi                        • Uganda

Villages in these countries are located in hunger “hotspots” where chronic hunger is often accompanied by a high prevalence of disease, lack of access to medical care, and a severe lack of infrastructure. Countries participating in the Project are reasonably peaceful and are lead by accountable governments.

The Millennium Villages Project is scientific research in action: The inaugural village in Sauri, Kenya, held its first Harvest Festival on July 21, 2005, celebrating a three-fold increase in crop yields from the previous year, a fully staffed health clinic, insecticide-treated bed nets that are helping stave off once high rates of infection; and its very own truck to carry precious cargo: sick patients to the hospital and foodstuffs to market.

For more information about the Millennium Villages, please visit