2013 – A Defining Moment for Achieving the MDGs

Sep 24, 2013

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark (centre) and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim (right) co-chair a High-level Panel during the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP

Global leaders urgently call for the continued need to accelerate progress to address widening disparities

With the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) looming, global leaders are calling for the urgent need to continue the accelerated approach to meet the worldwide targets that have overseen the fastest reduction of poverty in human history.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim co-chaired a High-level Panel today during the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. They said that achieving the MDGs would help address global disparities and lay the foundation for the post-2015 development agenda.

“With less than 830 days to go before the MDG target date, now is the time to accelerate progress – not give up,” said Helen Clark in a speech that underlined the key messages of a forthcoming report by UNDP, Accelerating progress, sustaining results.

“Our efforts must focus on progress for the poorest and most vulnerable people and countries, many of whom have been left behind, despite global progress towards the MDG targets,” she said.

Since the introduction of the MDG framework 13 years ago, significant achievements have been made.

"Today, many nations have achieved what could have been considered a dream in 2000 – cutting in half the number of people living in extreme poverty, eliminating gender disparities in school, expanding access to safe drinking water, and improving living conditions for slum dwellers,'' said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

"But progress on health, sanitation, and primary school completion is at risk. The challenge before us remains large.  It is larger than the capabilities of any single institution.  It goes beyond the capacities of most governments alone. We need productive partnerships among governments, the private sector, and civil society to accelerate progress."

Adapting approaches are key to sustainability in the new development age.  Bringing sectors and partnerships together now to accelerate progress on the MDGs and build momentum towards a post-2015 agenda will proactively and progressively tackle inequalities, address systemic deficits that retard progress in the longer term, minimize and build resistance to shocks, and “climate-proof” the MDGs and other development goals as these threaten to slow down, or even reverse gains made in the MDGs.

The High-level Panel also hosted heads of state from Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ghana, Tanzania and Tonga, as well Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"The MDGs have set the stage for stunning improvements in the quality of life for the poorest people in the world. Countries are measuring their progress on the key statistics - how many mothers and children are surviving; how many girls are going to school - and as a result they're making more progress, faster than ever before,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The UN can help keep this momentum going after 2015 by making sure the next set of global goals is ambitious yet pragmatic, measurable, and focused on the poorest."

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist and UN Goodwill Ambassador Carl Lewis said that while the MDGs have laid the track for development, closing in on the finish line would require a sustained effort by the international community in this defining moment to eradicate poverty.

Contact information

Dheepa Pandian; dheepa.pandian@undp.org; +1 212 906 6860

Natalia Cieslik; ncieslik@worldbank.org; +1 202 458-9369


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