Following on a proposal by the UN Secretary-General, the General Assembly has decided to convene the United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG Summit) from 20-22 September 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York.
The MDGs incorporate key goals and targets of the broader development agenda, agreed upon by world leaders and other stakeholders at different UN Summits and Conferences. Thus, the MDGs are not about extreme poverty only, but also include goals and targets for education, maternal health, child mortality, public health, environmental sustainability and biodiversity. By linking the MDGs to the internationally agreed development agenda (IADA), world leaders and development partners have recognized the synergies among various development goals and targets, and the need for an integrated approach for achieving them.
Ten years on from the original adoption of the MDGs at the 2000 Millennium Summit, and despite remarkable progress in some countries, collectively we are falling short in their achievement. The consequence of these shortfalls, further aggravated by the combined effects of the global food, climate, energy and economic crises, is that improvements in the lives of the poorest are happening at an unacceptably slow pace and in some countries, hard fought gains are being eroded. At the current pace, several of the eight MDGs and associated targets are likely to be missed in many countries. The challenges are most severe in the least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) and some small island developing states (SIDS).
If the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, not only must the level of financial investment be increased but innovative programmes and policies aimed at overall development and economic and social transformation must be rapidly scaled up and replicated. The MDGs are achievable, but there is clearly an urgent to address challenges, acknowledge failures and come together to overcome the obstacles to their achievement. This will require the embrace of pioneering ideas and political will on the part of governments and their development partners.
The primary objective of the MDG Summit is to accelerate progress towards all the MDGs by 2015, taking into account the progress made towards the internationally agreed development goals (A/RES/64/184). The summit is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, “leading to concrete strategies for action”.
In addition to the official preparatory process, a number of related events and reports will feed into government deliberations leading to the MDG Summit. Of particular relevance to civil society organisations are the ‘Hearings of the General Assembly with Civil Society’ - a part of the official process - that will be convened from 14-15 June 2010 in New York.