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UN MDG Report Highlights Progress Despite the Financial, Food and Energy Crises

7 July 2011: The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2011 finds that, despite setbacks from recent economic, food and energy crises, major progress towards the MDGs has been achieved. However, it indicates that progress has been unequal and the most vulnerable are left behind, noting disparities based on sex, age, disability and ethnicity, and between urban and rural areas. The report indicates some progress as it relates to poverty reduction, expanded opportunities for women, increased access to clean water, and reduction of deaths by malaria and HIV/AIDS incidence. At the same time, the report indicates that there is a need for further progress in empowering women and girls, promoting sustainable development, and protecting the most vulnerable from the effects of multiple crises.

The report was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 7 July 2011, during the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in Geneva, Switzerland. In his remarks, Ban stressed that “now is the time for equity, inclusion, sustainability and women's empowerment.” Noting that the MDG target deadline is approaching, the UN Secretary-General called for breakthroughs in trade negotiations and in climate action and to support building country's resilience to shocks such as conflicts, natural disasters or volatility in food and energy prices. He stressed that a more sustainable path is essential to achieving the MDGs, and said the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, Rio+20) offers a major opportunity to advance the dialogue.

On MDG 7, on environmental sustainability, the report indicates that the rate of deforestation and loss of forests from natural causes is slowing down. It notes that most forest loss is occurring in countries in the tropics, while the net gain is mostly found in countries in the temperate and boreal zones. The report estimates that the forestry sector, in particular deforestation, is responsible for one-sixth of all human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It highlights the growth in the establishment of protected areas, which covers 13% of the world's forests. On the target to reduce biodiversity loss, the report stresses that, despite the increase in protected ecosystems, biodiversity is still in decline due to inadequate management, underlining the need for efforts and innovative approaches to meet new targets for the conservation of priority ecosystems.

Using 2008 data, the report notes that global carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase. It indicates that, although per capita emissions remain highest in the developed countries, the gap in carbon dioxide emissions per capita between developed and developing countries has diminished since 1990. The report notes that emissions per unit of economic output fell by more than 36% in the developed regions and by about 9% in the developing regions. In terms of steps forward, the report highlights: the REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) mechanism; the Cancun Agreements of December 2010; and the success and continued work under the Montreal Protocol.

The MDG Progress Report, an annual assessment of regional progress towards the Goals, consolidates data from over 25 UN and international agencies. The report is produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). [Statement of the UN Secretary-General] [UN Press Release] [Press Materials] [Publication: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011]