UN chief heads to Madrid for meeting on global anti-poverty targets

08:26, July 13, 2010      

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UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon will travel to the Spanish capital Madrid on Friday to attend the first meeting of the group set up to help spur action toward achieving the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a UN spokesman said here on Monday.

Farhan Haq, the UN associate spokesman, told reporters that " the secretary-general will travel to Madrid to attend the first meeting of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group this Friday."

"Ahead of the MDG Summit that he will convene in September in New York, the secretary-general will meet with the eminent personalities who make up that group and its two co-chairs, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain," Haq said.

The group was founded last month. Each member of the group has been asked to focus their advocacy efforts on specific Goals such as slashing poverty, boosting school enrollment rates, improving maternal health and increasing access to clean water and decent sanitation, all of which are to be achieved by 2015.

Among those in the "collection of superheroes in defeating poverty" -- as the secretary-general described the group -- are two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, the Bangladeshi pioneer of microcredit Muhammad Yunus and the Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai, as well as former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates.

The meeting in Madrid comes ahead of the high-level MDG summit that will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September.

Ban will also travel to Geneva to attend the Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, which will be held on July 19-21 and focus on democracy, the role of legislative institutions and their relationship with the United Nations, Haq said.

Source: Xinhua


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