Academics, civil society to meet at world summit on ending poverty

Jan 25, 2010

New York — In preparation for the High Level Event to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be hosted by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon this September, academics, civil society organisations and UN officials are meeting today in New York to develop an action agenda to contribute substantially to the Review process, and the final internationally-agreed outcome.

The 2010 MDG Review: What to do differently? What to do the same? is the first time this year that actors in the development field are coming together to discuss what the agenda for the General Assembly MDGs review meeting in September might look like.

“We have five years to focus on the things that work to achieve sustainable and equitable development for people around the world," said Mary Robinson, keynote speaker and President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, and former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “That means, for example, eliminating gender inequality, ensuring access to information so that citizens can scrutinize development programs and hold their governments to account for results, and ensuring more decent work opportunities for all. These and other rights-based approaches have brought about positive results - now we need to give them the priority they deserve.”

The Review roundtable will be looking at what the MDGs have achieved so far, and what is needed to accelerate progress by focusing on, for example, civil society, communities and families, and individual capabilities and equity. The conclusions will then feed into the MDGs Review process through the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) analytic contributions to the UN Secretary-General, and the General Assembly debate, during the year.

“The global economic crisis has threatened progress on the MDGs,  but the gains made so far cannot, and should not, be ignored,” said Selim Jahan, Director of the UNDP Poverty Bureau. “Primary school enrolment in the developing world is at 88 percent, up from 83 percent in 2000, while child mortality —deaths among children under the age of five— is down to 9 million from 12.6 million in 1990. With a final push on the MDGs, we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.”

The Review roundtable participants will also be launching the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Bulletin, which has also been adapted as a key policy publication, “The MDGs and Beyond: Pro-Poor Policy in a Changing World”, by the UNDP International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth. These collections of academic articles reveal the urgent need for renewed political momentum if the Goals are to be achieved by the 2015 deadline.

“Accelerating progress will depend on what kinds of policies nations pursue, their budget priorities, their ability to enact governance improvements, and investments in filling crucial gaps,” said Dr Andy Sumner, IDS Fellow. “To this end, a global MDGs coalition and partnership must be encouraged and the MDGs Review year is a unique opportunity to do just that.”

Moving forward on the MDGs, the contributors call for stronger links between the human rights agenda in the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs; and better attention to the inclusion of pro-poor and social justice issues.
Articles have been contributed by the African Child Policy Forum (Ethiopia), the Institute of Development Studies (UK), the Institute of Social Studies (the Netherlands), the New School (USA), the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, the Norwegian Minister for Environment and International Development, the Overseas Development Institute (UK), the Pan African Development Centre (Ethiopia), Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative (USA), the University of Manchester (UK) and the United Nations.
Contact Information

For more information please contact:

Clare Gorman, Tel: +44 7747 036049 or + 44 1273 915657;

Sandra Macharia, Tel.: +1 212 906 5377;

For further information including blogs, video and podcasts, visit

Notes to the editor:

The full version of “The MDGs and Beyond: Pro-Poor Policy in a Changing World”, Poverty In Focus # 19 is available at:

Copies of the IDS Bulletin can be obtained by contacting the IDS Communications Team.  

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