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UN chief urges Member States, staff to participate in MDG 1,000 Days of Action

Photo: UNEP
Photo: UNEP

UN chief urges Member States, staff to participate in MDG 1,000 Days of Action

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today rallied the United Nations community in a Call to Action, capping off a week of activities to spur accelerated progress in the 1,000 days to the end of 2015 – the target date for achieving the eight anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Over the next 1,000 days, let us give 1,000 percent,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegates and UN staff gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“Thanks to the hard work of governments, civil society and other partners around the world – the MDGs have mobilized action and achieved results,” Mr. Ban said, but cautioned that the world continues to struggle against extreme poverty, inequality and insufficient access to sanitation.

Mr. Ban was joined at today's event by his Special Adviser for the MDGs, Jeffrey Sachs, as well as Gary Quinlan of Australia and Eugene-Richard Gasana of Rwanda, the Co-chairs of the MDG Advocacy Group.

Since last Friday, the UN has been working partners around the world to build momentum to achieve greater gains by the 2015 target date.

On social media platforms, UN agencies, partners, and individuals have sent over 40,000 tweets calling for hashtag #MDGMomentum to more than 26 million accounts, Mr. Ban said.

The UN chief met with young people in Spain last week to discuss the urged need for action and have a ceremonial kick-off to the 1,000 Days at a Real Madrid football match.

He also spoke via Skype with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl attacked for going to school, about the importance of education.

Mr. Ban then carried his 1,000-days message to Vatican City where he had an audience with Pope Francis, and more recently to the White House in a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Joking that even his family has gotten into the act, Mr. Ban said his granddaughter was born on the 999-day milestone, “she was due a bit later, but it seems she couldn't wait to join us in spreading the 1,000 day message.”

The eight time-bound MDGs address poverty and hunger, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, combating AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability and a global partnership for development.

According to UN figures, since the MDGs were adopted by all UN Member States in 2000, global extreme poverty rate has been cut in half and two billion more people have gained access to safe drinking water.

In addition, according to those figures, maternal and child mortality have dropped. The world continues to fight killer diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.

A record number of children are also enrolled primary school, with the number of girls equalling the boys for the first time.