What's Going On?
Significant strides have been made towards the Millennium Development Goals, yet reaching all the goals by the 2015 deadline remains challenging, as the world's poorest are being left behind, according to the MDG Report 2011, the UN's annual progress report. "The MDGs have helped lift millions of people out of poverty, save countless children's lives and ensure that they attend school," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "At the same time, we still have a long way to go in empowering women and girls, promoting sustainable development, and protecting the most vulnerable." Read the press materials here.
UN launches major push to improve sanitation
With 2.6 billion people -- 40 per cent of the world's population -- still without access to a toilet or latrine, sanitation is among the Millennium Development Goal targets lagging farthest behind. Sanitation for all: the drive to 2015 aims to mobilize political will and resources to expand sanitation across the globe. "It is time to put sanitation and access to proper toilets at the centre of our development discussions," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
General Assembly debates final push to 2015
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed the need to protect development gains achieved so far despite the fiscal austerity measures undertaken in the wake of the global financial crisis, saying great social benefits arise from investing in poverty eradication programmes. The Development Dialogue focused on women's and children's health and on strategies toward 2015 and beyond.
World leaders set bold new AIDS targets
Thirty years into the AIDS epidemic, world leaders came together to review progress and chart the future course of the global AIDS response at a High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on 8–10 June. UNAIDS estimates that 34 million people are living with HIV and nearly 30 million people have died of AIDS-related causes since the first case of AIDS was reported on 5 June 1981.
Secretary-General presses for bold measures to meet MDGs
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged ministers from around the world to "act boldly" to meet the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "The agreed deadline of 2015 is fast approaching. We must live up to the promises we made at the turn of the millennium," he said in a video message to an MDG meeting in Tokyo.
New global partnership for women's and girls' education
About 39 million adolescent girls are missing out on an education, and two thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate adults are women. "Better Life, Better Future" -- a new global initiative led by UNESCO -- focuses on reaching illiterate or semi-literate adolescent girls and expanding women’s literacy programmes. "Investing in the education of women and girls anywhere brings huge returns for health and great benefits for society," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
UN chief spotlights progress on women's and children's health
Visiting health workers in Ethiopia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spotlighted the progress made in improving the health of women and children, while also stressing the need to do more. "We have seen so many women and children dying needlessly from preventable diseases," Mr. Ban said. "Training good health workers, training good midwives can save a lot of women’s and also children’s lives." In Nigeria, he commended the government for investing in women's and children's health. Watch the video!
New commitments to save women and children
Sixteen countries announced new commitments to dramatically reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, as part of the UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. "Political and financial support for action on women's and children's health is reaching new and encouraging heights,'' said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is leading the Every Woman Every Child campaign to accelerate progress on Millennium Development Goals 4 (child mortality) and 5 (maternal health).
World Malaria Day -- A day to act
25 April is devoted to the fight against malaria, which afflicts as many as half a billion people, mainly in Africa, and kills a child every 45 seconds. “On World Malaria Day this year, there is much to celebrate,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. But "to reach our goal of near zero deaths from malaria by 2015, we need an extraordinary intensification of our actions.” See how you can act and watch the video.
Least Developed Countries can break out of poverty trap
A blue-ribbon report released ahead of the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in May says that these countries can break out of a decades-long poverty trap, depending on determined national action and international support. Pointing to the high incidence of conflicts in countries with extreme poverty and weak institutions, the Report by the Group of Eminent Persons says that "increasing marginalization of the LDCs is creating a future that we, as a global community, cannot afford."
World Water Day
Half of the world's people live in cities today, and the urban population is growing rapidly. About 828 million people live in slums or informal settlements, often without safe drinking water or toilets. World Water Day (22 March) focused on Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge. "Let us pledge to reverse the alarming decline in pro-poor investment in water and sanitation," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
UN Women -- for gender equality and the empowerment of women
UN Women -- the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women -- celebrated its creation at UN Headquarters on 24 February. "With the birth of UN Women, we welcome a powerful new agent for progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. The General Assembly voted unanimously to create the new entity last year, combining four previous UN bodies. UN Women is headed by former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
The State of the World’s Children 2011
The world is home to 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10 to 19. The vast majority of them live in developing countries and face a unique set of challenges. Investing in adolescent can break entrenched cycles of poverty and inequity and ensure that adolescence becomes an age of opportunity, according to a new report by UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2011: Adolescence – An Age of Opportunity.
Read the comic book: "Score the Goals"
Ten famous soccer players are the stars of the new comic book, "Score the Goals: Teaming Up to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals." Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Baggio, Michael Ballack, Iker Casillas, Didier Drogba, Luis Figo, Raúl, Ronaldo, Patrick Vieira, and Zinédine Zidane are shipwrecked on an island on their way to an all-star charity game and have to face the challenges of the eight MDGs. The 32-page booklet is available in English, French, Spanish and Chinese. Watch the annual Match against Poverty!
Some 578 million Africans protected by anti-malaria nets
A massive scale-up in malaria control programmes between 2008 and 2010 has resulted in the provision of enough insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect more than 578 million people at risk in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new United Nations report. But new commitments for malaria control appear to have levelled off in 2010 at $1.8 billion, still far short of the estimated $6 billion required for the year in the battle against a disease that kills a child in the world every 45 seconds, nearly 90 per cent of them in Africa, the World Malaria Report 2010 says.
Most of the world's poor live in rural areas
Even though 350 million rural people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty over the last ten years, global poverty remains a predominantly rural phenomenon. Seventy per cent of the world's 1.4 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas, according to the Rural Poverty Report 2011 released by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Download the report and watch the video on the IFAD website.
Significant declines in HIV infection rates
New trends in this year’s AIDS epidemic report show that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to change course, as the number of people newly infected with HIV is declining and AIDS-related deaths are decreasing. "We have finally reached the first part of Millennium Development Goal 6 -- by halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for World AIDS Day (1 December).
UN unveils Global Plan to Stop TB
A new initiative -- Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015 -- designed to combat tuberculosis, which claims the lives of nearly two million people across the world every year, could lead the way towards eliminating the disease if governments and donors commit enough funds, the World Health Organization announced. "There is an urgent need to scale up action against TB -- 10 million people, including 4 million women and children, will lose their lives unnecessarily between now and 2015 if we fail," said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO.
Donors pledge billions to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
Donor countries, foundations and corporations meeting at the UN on 4-5 October 2010 pledged $11.7 billion in new funding over the next three years to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- the largest-ever pledge for the collective effort to fight the three pandemics. “At a time when so many Governments are tightening their belts at home, these commitments send a powerful message: It shows how seriously world leaders want to do the right thing beyond their borders, too, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Read a statement by some of the MDG Advocates.
Celebrities join push for action on the Millennium Development Goals
Antonio Banderas, Angelique Kidjo, Zinedine Zidane, Maria Sharapova and Annie Lennox are among the UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace who have been and will continue to champion the cause of the Millennium Development Goals. "I thank these outstanding leaders for joining our push to advance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "They are household names who are bringing the message of global justice and solidarity to homes and communities around the world."
UNICEF highlights need to focus on most disadvantaged children
Investing first in the world’s most disadvantaged children and communities can save millions of lives and help spur progress towards achieving internationally agreed development targets, according to a new study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Our findings challenge the traditional thinking that focusing on the poorest and most disadvantaged children is not cost-effective,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s Executive Director.
Eminent personalities to help mobilize global action on the MDGs
To galvanize support for the Millennium Development Goals, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has established an MDG Advocacy Group of eminent personalities who have shown outstanding leadership in promoting the implementation of the Goals. The Group, which includes, Wangari Maathai, Bob Geldof, Graça Machel, Muhammad Yunus and many others, supports the Secretary-General in building political will and mobilizing global action to achieve the Goals by the 2015 target date.
Music Stars Team Up to Score 8 Goals for Africa
Eight of Africa's best known musical talents are now lending their voices in support of the UN campaign for the Millennium Development Goals. "8 Goals for Africa" features Yvonne Chaka Chaka from South Africa, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo from Benin, Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe, Eric Wainaina from Kenya, Baba Maal from Senegal, and the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa. World renowned jazz musicians Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dludlu from South Africa are instrumentalists on the track produced by Arthur Baker from the U.S.