UN to hold MDG summit

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ethiopia - United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the UN will hold a summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September.

In his opening remarks at the African Union (AU) Summit, Ban said the summit will focus on harnessing support for the success of the MDGs, identifying gaps that need urgent attention, emphasising priority areas for action and building a coalition capable of taking action.

The summit is to take place along with the opening of the General Assembly, where leaders of the 192 UN Member States meet each year at its Headquarters in New York.

"We have made great strides toward the Millennium Development Goals, but there is not much time to the 2015 deadline, and still much distance to travel," said Ban said.

He pledged to mobilise support to tackle the critical challenges threatening peace and prosperity across Africa, including extreme poverty, economic and social well-being, and the ravages of climate change.

The global recession, energy crisis, food insecurity and climate change have all made development more difficult and more urgent, he told more than 50 heads of State and Government attending the three-day AU meeting.

"Now is the critical time to mobilize action," he stressed, adding, however, that there has been a sharp decrease in malaria and measles deaths across the continent, vital gains in primary school enrollment and marked improvements in child health.

He noted that too many "women still die in childbirth, too many children still never live to see their fifth birthday, and too many women are unable to realize their full potential," underscoring the need for donors to deliver on their promises.

Productive employment and decent work for all Africans, especially for women and young people, should be the development priority for the continent, he said.

"The most important employment sector remains agriculture, with more than half of the workforce. And of course, we must invest in women and girls. When we empower women, we empower Africa."

Ban also announced the creation of the MDG Advocacy Group, consisting of eminent personalities from all walks of life who will "sound the global call for action" at the September Summit and put their influence to work for the cause.