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MDG Summit Calls for “Keeping the Promise”

23 September 2010: The High-level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)—or “MDG Summit”—took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 20-22 September 2010, under the theme “We can end poverty by 2015.”

The main aim of the Summit was to accelerate progress on halving extreme poverty, and drastically reducing hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths and other ills, addressed in the MDGs targets. The Summit and related events were attended by Heads of State and other dignitaries, as well as members of civil society, academia and the private sector.

The three-day event featured daily plenary sessions held concurrently with round-table sessions on the following six themes: addressing the challenge of poverty, hunger and gender equality; meeting the goals of health and education; promoting sustainable development; addressing emerging issues and evolving approaches; addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable; and widening and strengthening partnerships. In addition, various side events and other related partnership events took place. On Wednesday, a high-level event on biodiversity convened.

On Monday, a Policy Forum on Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate Change was facilitated by Andrew Revkin, Author. Forum participants included: Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary; Christina Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary; and Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Helen Clark, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, delivered the keynote address at the evening's dinner event.

On Tuesday, a side event on climate vulnerability and its impact on the MDGs was chaired by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Panelists included Helen Clark and Ministers from Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. Patricia Espinosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico, and Chair of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), urged governments to advance the climate negotiations in order to agree to an architecture for a post-Kyoto agreement at COP 16. Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, UK, announced an advocacy fund to support low-income country participation in international negotiations.

The main outcome of the Summit is the adoption of a resolution titled “Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” which calls for increased efforts at all levels to attain the MDGs, and includes an action agenda for achieving the goals by 2015. In the resolution, the General Assembly recognizes the serious risks and challenges posed by climate change to all countries, especially developing countries. It commits to addressing climate change in accordance with the UNFCCC principles and provisions, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The UNGA further maintains the UNFCCC as the primary international forum for negotiating the global response to climate change and stressed the importance of addressing climate change in order to safeguard and advance progress towards achieving the MDGs.

Other major themes of the Summit included: ensuring success at the upcoming 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), to take place in Nagoya, Japan; mainstreaming the MDGs into national and international policy; and improving accountability and delivery on commitments. [IISD RS Coverage of the Summit] [Summit Website]