|MDGs at a glance – what are the MDGs|
World leaders met in the United Nations in New York on 20-22 September 2010 reviewed progress made towards achieving key global development targets in fighting poverty, reducing hunger and disease, fighting social exclusion, providing universal education, health, drinking water and a healthy environment. Covering eight major areas, the Millennium Development Goals were agreed by the leaders of all UN member states at the Millennium summit in 2000 with a target date of 2015. They continue to be the most broadly supported, comprehensive and specific development goals the world has ever established.
With five years left to go and many countries grappling with economic downturns and facing the multiple – food, climate change and financial – crises, the summit was a critical opportunity for the international community to agree on an action agenda of what needed to be done to meet the MDGs. In this the European institutions had a crucial role.
EU announces 1 Billion Euro initiative to make progress on MDGs
As UNDP Administrator Helen Clark addressing European Parliamentarians prior to the MDG summit pointed out that given the huge contribution of the European Union and its member states to development cooperation, the combined EU stance at the summit would have a significant bearing on its outcome.
The UN’s team in Brussels has been focusing its partnership work with the European institutions to maintain Europe’s strong engagement in advancing on the MDG targets.
European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso underscored the significance of that joint work when he noted in his foreword to the 2010 UN-EU Partnership Report, that “the partnership between the EU and the UN is an essential component in our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”. *
In his statement to fellow world leaders at the MDG summit, President Barroso made it clear that “the European Union has kept the fight against poverty high on its agenda. European citizens themselves demand this. As the world’s leading donor, accounting for more than 50% of all development aid, the European Union has contributed to the achievement of the MDGs from the beginning.”
During its meeting on 17 June 2010, the Council of the European Union adopted its views in the form of conclusions on the summit and beyond pledging the EU’s firm commitment to achieve the MDGs globally by 2015.
EU and UN officials agree that the MDGs are achievable. Apart from a strengthened political commitment there is also a range of tried and tested policies which can ensure progress with numerous practical examples from the field as testament to this. The most recent reports of the UN team in Brussels showcase a number of these within the context of the UN-EU partnership in action.
- EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s stament to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs (New York, 20 September 2010)
- UNDP Administrator Helen Clark’s remarks to the Extraordinary Joint Committee Meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees of the European Parliament (Brussels, 10 June 2010)
- Council of European Union conclusions on the Millennium Development Goals for the United nations High-level Plenary meeting in New York and beyond
(Luxembourg, 17 June 2010)
- EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs keynote address to the UN ECOSOC High-Level Segment: Development Cooperation Forum
(New York, 29 June 2010)
- Progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: mid-term review in preparation of the UN High-Level meeting in September 2010
Text adopted by the European Parliament (Strasbourg, 15 June 2010)
- UN Brussels Office Director Antonio Vigilante: The MDG Summit will offer an opportunity for the post-Lisbon EU to exert strong, coordinated and coherent leadership on the international stage. Article in Europe’s World, Summer, 2010