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Progress On MDG Targets Is ‘Key Priority’ In 2010 For U.N. Secretary-General

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called 2010 “the year of development” and said “he would make the drive to achieve” the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 “one of his key priorities this year,” Agence France-Presse/My Sinchew reports. A special MDG summit, which will be held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in September, will try to accelerate progress towards the MDG targets, Ban said. He added that the meeting will look at what has already been achieved and will call on participants to “reaffirm their commitment to achieve the eight MDGs set in 2000,” the AFP/My Sinchew writes (1/12).

In March, ahead of the summit, Ban is expected to “present his own assessment [of MDG progress] to the membership on the gaps and needs on this issue,” according to the U.N. News Centre (1/11). MDG “targets include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other disease, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating a global partnership for development,” AFP/My Sinchew reports (1/11).

“‘My message is simple: The MDGs are too big to fail,’ he said, highlighting the importance of investing in development to spur growth, boost security and improve the lives of families around the world,” according to Xinhua. “We are ready to act … ready to make 2010 a year of results for people,” Ban said of his priorities for the coming year (1/11).

Empowerment of women worldwide is also one of Ban’s priorities, the U.N. News Centre writes. Ban “pointed to the need to work towards setting up the new gender entity to be established within the U.N., and step up efforts to prevent violence against women. The appointment of a Special Representative on the prevention of sexual violence in armed conflict will be announced soon, he added.” He said other major focus items for the year include conflict prevention and resolution, human rights expansion and strengthening of the U.N. system (1/11).