1,000-day milestone renews focus on unfinished business of MDGs

16 Apr 2013

image In New York, UNDP employees joined UN colleagues to show their support for the 'MDG Momentum' campaign by forming '1000' outside UN headquarters. UN Photo/Garten

New York – From Eritrea to Bangladesh, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices have observed the 1,000–day milestone to the end of 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – as part of a global campaign to accelerate progress.

Beginning on 5 April, UNDP supported ‘MDG Momentum: 1,000 Days of Action’, with its staff marking the moment in many creative ways, though social media, live broadcasts and roundtable discussions.

In Eritrea, UNDP and the UN Country Team organized a series of outreach activities in partnership with the government.

In Comoros, UNDP broadcast messages about the MDGs on the radio and national television and mobile phone users across the country received one text message per day, each for a separate goal, during the one-week campaign.

"The MDGs have proven that focused global development objectives can make a profound difference," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Success in the next 1,000 days will not only improve the lives of millions, it will add momentum as we plan for beyond 2015 and the challenges of sustainable development."

Globally, UNDP joined UN country teams to engage with governments, civil society, the media and other partners to amplify awareness of MDG achievements and reinforce efforts to accelerate progress on lagging goals, for example, by boosting implementation of MDG Acceleration Action Plans.

"Despite the progress made on the MDGs, projections suggest that in 2015 almost 1 billion people will still live in extreme poverty," UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said.

"Many will still be suffering from hunger, malnutrition, lack of clean water, the burden of preventable ill-health, gender discrimination, and more. Whether or not global MDG targets are met, such suffering is inconsistent with the vision for dignity, equity, freedom, peace, and prosperity of the Millennium Declaration," she said.

The campaign started with a global social media surge – involving 1,000 consecutive minutes of digital engagement – to promote the need to rally the world to step up efforts to achieve the eight Goals. 11,691 contributors and 29,280 tweets with the hashtag #MDGmomentum reached an audience of nearly 50 million unique users and 294 million timelines.

UNDP teams from Peru to Sweden and Norway, and from Pakistan to El Salvador, contributed and relayed the tweets and messages.

The UNDP Facebook page, with photographs of the MDGs at work in local communities and infographics on the eight goals, was viewed over 385,000 times.

Also on Twitter, the UN Volunteers Programme hosted a mini film festival dedicated to the MDGs, while UNDP Bangladesh actively used Twitter and Facebook to launch a photo competition for youth groups and education institutions, disseminates photo stories of MDG successes and send out key messages from high level conversation.

In Bhutan, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and in Zimbabwe, the UN Country Teams organized panel discussions on the MDGs, lessons and way forward, with the participation of government officials, representatives of the civil society and academia.

In Burundi, the UN Country Team organized a symbolic basketball match, "marking points to reach the MDGs".

Staff at UN headquarters in New York and at UNDP offices in Rwanda and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - as well as enterprising scouts in Malawi – posed for group photographs in the form of the figure 1,000, disseminating the pictures through social media.

Speaking at a ceremony in New York on 12 April, with the co-chairs of the MDG Advocacy Group and Jeffrey Sachs, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the MDGs, Ban Ki-moon noted "we now have less than 1,000 days to close the gaps and accelerate action. That means scaling up success as action now will add momentum as we look beyond 2015".

"Achieving the MDGs remains a top priority. The more which can be achieved during the 1000 days countdown to 31 December 2015, the more credible the approach of defining goals and targets beyond that time will be,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said.