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Leaders At U.N. Urge Continued Action To Meet MDGs

“With the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) looming, United Nations officials [on Tuesday] called on countries to accelerate action to meet the global targets that have spurred the fastest reduction of poverty in human history,” the U.N. News Centre reports. Leaders, including U.N. Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, spoke at a high-level panel held in conjunction with the 68th session of the General Assembly, the news service notes, adding, “The 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, and nine-time Olympic gold medalist and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Carl Lewis.” At a different event on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “appealed to innovators to use their creativity, ideas and inspiration to achieve the MDGs,” according to the news service (9/24).

Ban “said Tuesday that the world is lagging badly in some of the [MDGs] it has set for itself,” the IANS/Business Standard reports. “‘A new development agenda must be as inspiring as the MDGs, but it must go further,’ Ban declared, calling for a universal framework with ending poverty as a top priority, sustainable development at its core and governance as its glue,” the news service writes, adding, “Moreover, the rights of women and girls must be at the heart of all such efforts, he continued, calling for the 21st century to be the century of women” (9/24). “The 2013 progress report [.pdf] on the MDGs, published in July, pointed out that progress had been uneven among regions, countries and within countries,” The Guardian notes (Ford, 9/23). In his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said, “These are extraordinary times, with extraordinary opportunities. Thanks to human progress, a child born anywhere on Earth today can do things today that 60 years ago would have been out of reach for the mass of humanity. I saw this in Africa, where nations moving beyond conflict are now poised to take off. And America is with them, partnering to feed the hungry and care for the sick, and to bring power to places off the grid” (9/24).