Making it happen by 2015

01 Sep 2010

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Popularly referred to as the ‘MDG summit’ - the ‘High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, or HLPM – will take place from 20-22 September 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. 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”.

New Horizons - A significant opportunity for UN Member States to galvanize commitment, rally support and spur collective action in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the summit will focus on accelerating progress towards the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, taking into account the progress made with regard to the internationally agreed development goals, through a comprehensive review. The meeting will result in the adoption of a concise and action-oriented outcome to be agreed by Member States.

Over the course of three days, six plenary meetings and six interactive roundtables will take place. The six round-table sessions will have at least 50 seats each and will be co-chaired by two Heads of State or Government. The six round-table meetings will have the overarching objective of “Making it happen by 2015”, and each one will focus on one theme, as follows:

o Round table 1 — Addressing the challenge of poverty, hunger and gender equality
o Round table 2 — Meeting the goals of health and education
o Round table 3 — Promoting sustainable development
o Round table 4 — Addressing emerging issues and evolving approaches
o Round table 5 — Addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable
o Round table 6 — Widening and strengthening partnerships

The round-table sessions will be closed to the media and the general public. Summaries of the deliberations of the six round-table sessions will be presented orally by the chairpersons of the round-table sessions or their representatives during the concluding plenary meeting of the High-level Plenary Meeting. The HLPM will end with a closing session of one hour on the final day.

The UN General Assembly took a decision in July 2009 to hold such a high-level plenary meeting at the opening of its 65th session in 2010. At the Assembly’s request, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has issued a report setting out a proposed format and modalities for the event, which were agreed through consultations before the end of 2009. The Assembly has encouraged all countries to be represented at this important meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government.

“Time is short. We must seize this historic moment to act responsibly and decisively for the common good.” said Secretary-General to strongly urge Governments to engage constructively in the preparations for the HLPM.

In the 2009 Millennium Development Goals Report released earlier this year, the Secretary-General noted: "We have made important progress in this effort, and have many successes on which to build. But we have been moving too slowly to meet our goals". The 2010 high-level meeting, he hopes, will not only result in a renewal of existing commitments but also can decisively galvanize coordinated action among all stakeholders and elicit the funding needed to ensure the achievement of the Goals by 2015.

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 the world is 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 need 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.

For a full calendar of events, click here