UN chief calls on leaders to attend MDGs summit next September

11:29, December 22, 2009      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged world leaders to attend a summit next September to boost efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"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," Ban said in a statement.

Set in 2000 by world leaders, the MDGs seeks to slash a host of social ills, ranging from extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality to lack of access to education and health care.

The summit will be held in conjunction with the start of the General Assembly's annual general debate, which routinely brings dozens of heads of state and government to the UN headquarters in 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," Ban said.

Ban noted the MDGs had triggered unprecedented efforts worldwide in the fight against poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction. However, he 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 urged 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."

In September 2000, world leaders were summoned in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of targets with a deadline of 2015.

At the two-thirds mark of their hoped-for attainment, the MDGs are facing significant challenges in some regions, particularly in 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.

Source: Xinhua
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