Bogotá — The 2013 Global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Conference (GMC) was launched today.
The GMC is bringing together political and development leaders along with 150 participants of about 40 countries, including lead experts and practitioners from governments, academia, civil society, UNDP and other UN/development agencies from Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Latin America.
With about 1,000 days left until the MDG 2015 target date, national and international experts will exchange views on what has worked and what has not until now, and describe acceleration efforts that are being undertaken in the last stretch.
Helen Clark, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, María Ángela Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, and Heraldo Muñoz, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean opened the event.
Noting that conference's main objective is to keep the momentum for accelerating progress towards the MDG achievement Ms. Clark urged "the more the world can achieve on the MDGs, the more it will be possible to build confidence and support for a bold and ambitious post-2015 development agenda."
Ms. Clark also noted that over 45 countries have successfully rolled out the MDG Acceleration Framework in order to address inequalities and close gaps in MDG progress. "What the MDGs have taught us is to aim high and think bigger; the wellbeing of people and the planet we share depend on that" concluded Ms. Clark.
Ms. Holguín recognized the achievements many countries, including Colombia made towards MDG implementation and stated that 'irreversible' achievements in reducing inequalities and poverty would require commitment towards a concrete set of goals based on principles of sustainability and resilience while at the same time addressing the unfinished business of MDGs.
During the opening ceremony, the representatives of the indigenous communities launched the MDG Report for Indigenous Populations in Colombia and called for protection of biodiversity.
The opening was followed by keynote speeches by Ms. Amina Mohammed, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, Post-2015 Development Planning, and Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Special Envoy and Representative on the Millennium Development Goals and Financial Development, World Bank.
Ms. Mohammed reminded that "the world has changed radically from what it was at the turn of the millennium," and underscored that the post-2015 development framework should capture the three interconnected objectives: economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability, as highlighted at the 2012 Rio conference.
Ms. Mohammed concluded by noting that more than financial resources, international cooperation to push forward the necessary reforms were key to success for the MDGs.
Mr. Mohieldin stated "Achieving the current MDGs will provide credibility, as well as a platform for greater ambition in the future. The greatest challenges remain in fragile and conflict states, reaching goals in maternal and child health, and expanding women's economic opportunities."
He highlighted the importance of maintaining the economic growth and targeting inequalities and disparities in the remaining two years and in the post-2015 framework.
During high-level panel discussions and technical round tables the participants showcased key initiatives from their countries for accelerating progress, and took stock of lessons learned that could help inform the development agenda beyond 2015.
Drawing from their rich repository of practical knowledge and evidence that have been accumulated in different development settings, participants highlighted some crucial successes that countries even in the most challenging circumstances have been able to achieve through acceleration efforts in the past couple years, as well as critical challenges that remain to be addressed.
A global report on MDG achievement and acceleration will be prepared based on the proceedings of the conference. The results of this conference will feed into the September 2013 high-level UN Summit on the MDGs. Discussions over the next two days will be held around the following themes:
- MDG breakthroughs and challenges for the next generation;
- The Final Push: Accelerating towards the MDGs and sustaining progress;
- Mainstreaming the MDGs- translating a global agenda into national action and addressing gaps;
- The unfinished business of the MDGs and the emerging agenda beyond 2015.
The live-streaming of the event can be watched at http://on.undp.org/hY9Uu. The participants can actively contribute via UNDP's Twitter (#MDGS2013) at www.undp.org/live.
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