News on Millennium Development Goals
With respect to MDG 3, which targets gender equality and women’s empowerment, progress has been made in a number of gender dimensions, such as in education and economic gains. However, persistent gender gaps remain and affect the achievement of other MDGs such as maternal mortality. UN Women and the UN Statistics Division have developed a progress chart on Goal 3 that also tracks the impact of gender equality on the achievement of each of the remaining seven MDGs .
According to the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2012, 50 countries around the world are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75 per cent by 2015. While progress has been made, Dr. Robert Newman, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme in Geneva, says, “Global targets for reducing the malaria burden will not be reached unless progress is accelerated in the highest burden countries,” such as in India and countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Fourteen endemic countries account for an estimated 80 per cent of malaria deaths. The World Malaria Report 2012 also indicates that a slowdown in international funding for fighting malaria may impact progress made towards the health-related targets of the MDGs.
In his statement to mark World AIDS Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, “Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015 are achievable. On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history.” A recent report by UNAIDS shows that 25 countries, since 2001, have reduced new infections by more than 50% and in the past two years there has been a 60% increase in the number of people accessing life-saving treatment. The progress is significant, but there is more work to do. According to the Executive Director for UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, “We only have a thousand days left before the deadline of the 2015 global AIDS targets.”
According to a new report launched by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, ensuring the availability of voluntary family planning to everyone in developing countries would reduce costs for maternal and newborn health care by $11.3 billion annually. The State of World Population 2012 report emphasizes that family planning goes beyond just an economic issue and is connected to human rights and access to education. “Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. The report provides evidence of how teenage motherhood reduces a girl’s chances of obtaining a high school diploma by up to 10 per cent. Looking ahead, the report also estimates that 3 million fewer babies would die in their first year of life if 120 million more women had access to family planning.
17 October marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, focusing on the theme: “Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace". "On this International Day, let us make an investment in our common future by helping to lift people out of poverty so that they, in turn, can help to transform our world," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. An official commemoration for the Day takes place in NY. The public is also encouraged to join a social media action to raise awareness of progress made in the fight against poverty and the need to accelerate action to achieve the MDGs using #endpoverty.
As nearly 870 million people still go hungry, World Food Day highligted the role of cooperatives in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger. “Owned by their members, they can generate employment, alleviate poverty, and empower poor and marginalized groups in rural areas” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A report launched by UNEP, in collaboration with IFAD, FAO, WFP, World Bank, warns that the ecological foundations that support food security, including biodiversity are being undermined.
New findings from the FAO's report, 'The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012', shows that progress in reducing hunger during the past 20 years has been better than previously believed. Given renewed efforts, it may be possible to reach the MDG hunger target at the global level by 2015. However, the number of people suffering from chronic undernourishment remains high. This year's report also discusses the role of economic growth in reducing hunger. The report underlines that economic and agricultural growth need to be "nutrition-sensitive" in order to lead to better nutritional outcomes for the poor.
A high-level meeting on Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), held at the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly, and led by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, gathered Heads of State, civil society, private sector representatives, and other government and UN officials. Participants announced progress in the fight against hunger and under-nutrition and ushered in new commitments. “I commend the achievements of the SUN Movement. More than 56 million stunted children have a better chance to grow more strong and healthy,” said the Secretary-General.
World leaders, donors and experts gathered at the UN Headquarters at the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly to vow to capitalize on progress achieved this year and to step up the fight to eradicate polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that is more than 99 percent eliminated from the world. “Every child should have the right to start life with equal protection from this disease. That’s why I have made eradicating polio a top priority for my second term as Secretary-General,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Watch the event on “Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio Free World”
Press Release on ending polio
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced $1.5 billion in commitments for a new initiative to increase access to, and the quality of, education for children worldwide. “We are here today because we know every child everywhere deserves that same chance”, Mr. Ban said at the launch of the Education First initiative, at the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly in New York. The initiative will focus on three priorities over the next five years: putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship through education.
Watch the launch event of Education First
Education First Press Release
The first meeting of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was held at United Nations Headquarters on the margins of the 67th General Assembly session. On this occasion, the three co-Chairs, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, gave remarks on the post-2015 agenda and the objectives for the work of the 27-member Panel, made up of civil society, private sector and government leaders.
Watch the media stakeout by the three Co-Chairs of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Meeting at UN Headquarters against the backdrop of the opening of the 67th General Assembly session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s MDG Advocacy Group – eminent personalities from the private sector, academia, governments and civil society – urged the international community to intensify efforts to achieve the MDGs in the final three years until their 2015 target date. The group, an “inspiring” example of partnership, commented Mr. Ban, is co-chaired by Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.
Watch the media stakeout of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé announced the appointment of Indian icon and former Miss World winner Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador, to focus helping the Organization’s efforts in combating the spread of HIV infections in children. “I am honoured to accept this appointment,” Mrs. Rai Bachchan said. “Spreading awareness on health issues, especially related to women and children, has always been a priority for me. And now, as a new mother, I can personally relate to this – the joys and concerns of every mother and the hope that we have for our children”, she added.
Despite several important global targets being met ahead of the 2015 deadline, for the first time in many years aid shows a decline that risks slowing the momentum of significant development gains, warns the 2012 MDG Gap Task Force Report issued today and entitled: "The Global Partnership for Development: Making Rhetoric a Reality". UN Secretary-General urges development partners to deliver on commitments to reverse the trend, as otherwise fewer of the MDGs will be reached in fewer countries by the 2015 deadline.
Read the UN Secretary-General's remarks for the launch of the MDG Gap Task Force Report 2012 in New York on 20 September.
Read the 2012 MDG Gap Task Force Report press material here.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will launch the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a new independent global network of research centres, universities and technical institutions to help achieve sustainable development. As part of the UN mandate on post-2015 and the outcome of the Rio + 20 Conference, the network will be directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the MDGs.
On 31 July 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed 26 civil society, private sector and government leaders from all regions to a High‑level Panel to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015. "I have asked my High‑level Panel to prepare a bold yet practical development vision to present to Member States next year,” said the UN chief. “I look forward to the Panel’s recommendations on a global post-2015 agenda with shared responsibilities for all countries and with the fight against poverty and sustainable development at its core.”
With three MDG targets achieved, global partnership for development is key to 2015 success, UN report says
Three important targets on poverty, slums and water have been met three years ahead of 2015, says the 2012 Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), launched today by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Meeting the remaining targets, while challenging, is possible - but only if Governments do not waiver from their commitments made over a decade ago. “The current economic crises besetting much of the developed world must not be allowed to decelerate or reverse the progress that has been made. Let us build on the successes we have achieved so far, and let us not relent until all the MDGs have been attained”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
The new 2012 MDG Progress Chart is also available.
In this report to prepare for an ambitious development agenda beyond 2015, the UN System Task Team lays out a vision for ensuring that ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the worlds’ peoples of present and future generations. The report comes as part of open, inclusive consultations on the way forward after 2015.
A new online platform, “Integrated Implementation Framework”, was launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to track the progress on the financial and policy commitments made by countries towards realizing the MDGs. “A one-stop shop to monitor all commitment made by Member States to help meet the Millennium Development Goals,” Mr. Ban said. “This tool should help us to make good on our pledges and identify the gaps to retool our efforts” added UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.
The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) was launched by the UN Environment Programme. On the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, the GEO-5 assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four, stressing that drastic actions and big-scale measures are needed to reverse the unsustainable pattern the planet is on.
This year’s theme for World Environment Day, Green Economy: Does it include you?, seeks to underscore the need for everyone to play a part in keeping humankind’s ecological footprints within planetary boundaries. “Rio+20 is our opportunity to deepen global commitment to sustainable development,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We should agree that the world needs a set of sustainable development goals that will build on the Millennium Development Goals”, he added.
The 2012 International Day for Biological Diversity was observed on 22 May on the theme of marine diversity. “Despite its importance, marine biodiversity… has not fared well at human hands,” said the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message to mark the Day. In the lead-up to Rio+20 Mr. Ban added: “By taking action at the national, regional and global levels…we can achieve…a crucial step in protecting marine biodiversity for the future we want.”
Although greater progress is still needed in significantly reducing maternal deaths, the number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth related complications has almost halved in 20 years according to a report, Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010, published by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.
On the occasion of World Malaria Day Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on countries to intensify their efforts to combat the disease, stressing that despite remarkable progress in recent years, much more needs to be done to end the “monumental tragedy” of one child dying every minute from the disease. Mr. Ban was joined in a special video message by Mr. Shaquille O’Neil, NBA Champion.
The United Nations celebrated International Mother Earth Day with many special events and activities, two month ahead of Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio in June 2012. “Mother Earth belongs to us all; Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that all of us must seize” said the UN Secretary-General.
The UN Secretary-General appointed 27 global leaders to head the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, a worldwide effort to address maternal and child nutrition as keys to progress in health and development. Members of the Lead Group include Heads of State, representatives of the donor, civil society, and business communities, as well as UN system organizations. “Never before have so many leaders, from so many countries and fields, agreed to work together to improve nutrition,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In the lead-up to Rio+20, the 2012 World Water Day emphasized the importance of universal access to water to all to end famine, drought and political instability.
It also marked the achievement of MDG target 7.c (halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water) making it amongst the first MDG targets to be met, well in advance of the 2015 deadline.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day UN officials such as UN Secretary-General, or Michelle Bachelet, head of UN Women, stressed that women’s participation in all aspects of society was more important than ever, as witnessed last year in the context of the global economic crisis, political transitions in the Arab world and elsewhere, and environmental disasters.
Despite remaining challenges, encouraging results regarding decline of extreme poverty, a better access to water, progress in combating tuberculosis and malaria, as well as a better gender parity in primary school enrolment were pointed out by the UN Secretary-General at a press conference he gave with Rebeca Grynspan of UNDP and Special Adviser Jeffrey Sachs. “These are major achievements. The MDGs brought not only better results but also better ways of measuring that have led to greater accountability”, he said.
In every region of the developing world, the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day and the number of poor declined between 2005-2008, according to estimates released by the World Bank. This across-the-board reduction over a three-year monitoring cycle marks a first since the Bank began monitoring extreme poverty. "We are now confident that the developing world has reached the first of the Millennium Goals " said Martin Ravallion, director of the World Bank's research group and lead author of the report.
Hundreds of millions of children in cities across the world are growing up in poverty and enduring deprivation, according to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children 2012”.
Despite growing up in close proximity to modern facilities and basic services, many children in urban areas lack access to electricity, clean water and education. They are also at high risk of contracting diseases due to unsanitary conditions and suffering from malnutrition, the report highlights.
As billions of people worldwide still lack access to modern energy, the UN launched the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and called on governments, the private sector and civil society to help expand energy access, improve efficiency and increase the use of renewables. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that energy is central to everything, from powering economies to achieving the MDGs. “It is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and preserving the environment,” he said during the launch in Abu Dhabi on 16 January 2012.
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.