News on Millennium Development Goals
Countries meeting in Durban, South Africa, have delivered a breakthrough on the future of the international community’s response to climate change, whilst recognizing the urgent need to raise their collective level of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius. Secretary-General Ban said the new accord was “essential for stimulating greater action and for raising the level of ambition and the mobilization of resources to respond to the challenges of climate change.”
“The progress we have made so far is proof that we can realize our vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” said the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the UN marked World AIDS Day on 1 December. A new report by UNAIDS released on 21 November shows that 2011 was a game changing year for the AIDS response with unprecedented progress in science, political leadership and results.
The UN Climate Change Conference kicked off in Durban, South Africa, with thousands of representatives from governments, NGOs and civil society in order to advance ways to cut global carbon emissions and pollution and determine the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The outcome of the Conference is also likely to influence the upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development to be held in Rio in June 2012.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the UN highlights youth leadership
UN officials called for engaging all of society, and especially young people, to end violence against women, a scourge that spans the globe and takes many forms, including rape, domestic violence and harassment at work. “Our challenge,” said the UN Secretary-General, “is to ensure that the message of ‘zero tolerance’ is heard far and wide. To do that, we must engage all of society – and especially young people – and in particular young men and boys.” Events to mark the International Day were held in New York and worldwide thanks to the network of UN Information Centres.
In the lead-up to Rio+20, the UN launched a campaign to invite people everywhere to engage in a global conversation about the future they want and to share their visions through the campaign’s social media platforms. All the inputs received will be combined to form an exhibit at the conference in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. “The Rio+20 conference offers us a unique chance to […] visualize and plan for the future we want” said the UN Secretary-General at the launch event.
The annual UNDP Human Development Report was released on 2 November. In the lead-up to Rio+20, the upcoming UN conference on sustainable development, this year’s edition entitled Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All focuses on the link between human development and environmental sustainability. The report calls for urgent action to slow climate change, prevent further degradation and reduce inequalities as environmental deterioration threatens to reverse recent progress in human development for the world’s poorest.
Top United Nations officials marked the global population reaching 7 billion with a call to action to world leaders to meet the challenges that a growing population poses, from ensuring adequate food and clean water to guaranteeing equal access to security and justice. “Today, we welcome baby 7 billion. In doing so we must recognize our moral and pragmatic obligation to do the right thing for him, or for her,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a press event at UN Headquarters to mark the milestone.
The United Nations launched the International Year of Cooperatives under the theme “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World”, in recognition of their contribution to socio-economic development and achievement of the MDGs. The year aims at expanding public awareness of the role of cooperatives and encouraging their growth worldwide. "Cooperatives focus on the long-term," said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. "Through their use of local labour and capital, as well as their respect for the environment, cooperatives strengthen local economies while creating a sustainable future." More details about the press conference launch.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched CrowdOutAIDS.org, an online collaborative project to crowdsource its new strategy on youth and HIV. This new project will use several social media platforms to facilitate the development of new policies to combat the pandemic. With around 3000 young people aged 15-24 becoming infected with HIV daily, making their involvement essential for an effective response to the epidemic.
A new UN research and training facility designed to help poorer countries pursue sustainable development to accelerate economic growth while improving the quality of life and protecting the environment was inaugurated on 19 October 2011 in the Republic of Korea. “[The new office] will contribute to advancing the implementation of the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference,” said Sha Zukang, the Secretary-General of the Conference to be held in Brazil in June next year.
Many events were organized by over twenty field UN Information Centres (UNICs) around the world to support the Stand Up Against Poverty campaign on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Events included sport competitions, concerts, artistic contests, debates, amongst other initiatives, and involved school children, students, corporate companies, artists, famers, etc.
The 2011 Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was held on 17 October on the theme "From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development", in line with the upcoming Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and with the Secretary-General’s initiative Sustainable Energy for All. “We can meet the challenges we face. We can overcome them by putting people at the centre of our work,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message.
For World Food Day (16 October), the UN agencies focus on the need to ensure that children have enough to eat, and address the factors that make food unaffordable for so many. “I urge world leaders in rich and poor countries alike to invest the energy and resources necessary to win the battle against hunger — a key pillar of our efforts to achieve the MDGs,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for World Food Day.