Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in addressing development challenges

World leaders renew commitment to anti-poverty targets, agree to adopt new development Goals at 2015 Summit

On 25 September 2013 world leaders agreed to scale up action against extreme poverty, hunger and disease and called for a 2015 Summit to adopt the next set of Goals to focus continued efforts after the target date for the Millennium Development Goals.

In the outcome document adopted at a Special Event on the MDGs, hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly, countries lauded the remarkable progress made so far towards achieving the eight Goals, which have provided a "common vision" for meeting the needs of the world's poorest.

Member States also expressed concern at the unevenness and gaps in MDG achievement in the face of immense challenges, and agreed to take the purposeful and coordinated action required to accelerate progress.

Speaking at the opening of the event, President of the General Assembly John Ashe said that "we must do everything possible to accelerate action and get the job done by 2015. Urgently implementing the global partnership for development is not only a moral obligation but will also put us at the best possible starting point for agreeing what comes next."

In the document, countries agreed to hold a high-level Summit in September 2015 to adopt a new set of Goals that will balance the three elements of sustainable development – providing economic transformation and opportunity to lift people out of poverty, advancing social justice and protecting the environment.

The post-2015 global process is illustrated in this diagram adapted by UNV after the Summit.

 

The Goals – which will build on the foundation laid by the MDGs and also respond to new challenges – will be applicable to all countries while taking into account national circumstances.

The deliberations of Governments took into account the views expressed by people across the globe through a series of worldwide consultations that reached more than a million citizens, in an effort unprecedented for the UN.

During the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented to countries his report "A Life of Dignity for All", outlining his vision for bold action to achieve the MDGs and for a new and responsive sustainable development framework that meets the needs of both people and planet. The Secretary-General said that the post-2015 framework "must be bold in ambition yet simple in design, supported by a new partnership for development". "It needs to be rights-based, with particular emphasis on women, young people and marginalized groups. And it must protect the planet's resources, emphasize sustainable consumption and production and support action to address climate change, " he continued.

Among other speakers, Dr. Gill Greer, CEO of Volunteer Service Abroad, articulated the voice of millions of volunteers and volunteer groups around the world whose work is at the very heart of civil society, and of sustainable, people- centred development. She acknowledged that "volunteers and volunteer groups are more than implementers. They, and those they support, will seek space and opportunity to engage with governments and decision makers, to be involved in the decisions that shape their lives, here and at home, just as millions of people have done by responding to the UN's unprecedented consultation on the post -2015 framework."

The Special Event comes as the UN, Governments, civil society, the private sector and philanthropists push to achieve more MDG targets in the final stretch to 2015.
A high-level event, MDG Success: Accelerating Action and Partnering for Impact, hosted by the Secretary-General on 23 September, showcased the power of new types of partnerships to change the development landscape and mobilize finance, expertise and knowledge to further the MDGs.

"Substantial additional commitments from Governments, the World Bank, private business and philanthropy brought the total new investment in boosting MDG achievement to $2.5 billion," the Secretary-General told Member States today.

The MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education – have been the most effective anti-poverty push in history. The lives of millions of people have been improved and targets have already been met on reducing poverty, increasing access to safe water, improving the lives of slum dwellers and achieving gender parity in primary education.

Despite huge gains, progress towards the eight MDGs has been uneven, not only among regions and countries, but also between population groups within countries, with accelerated action needed in many areas.

Details and full programme available at: www.un.org/millenniumgoals/specialevent

Latest MDG data available at: www.un.org/millenniumgoals/news.shtml

Secretary-General's report "A Life of Dignity for All" is available in full here

Highlights of commitments made in support of the MDGs during the high-level week of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly

  • The UK Government will provide support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria worth $1.6 billion (£1 billion) over the three-year period of 2014-2016. The support will deliver life-saving antiretroviral therapy for 750,000 people living with HIV, 32 million more insecticide-treated nets to prevent the transmission of malaria, and TB treatment for over a million more people.
  • The Government of Norway will contribute $75 million over three years to finance life-saving commodities and their related delivery costs as part of a newly formed "Reproductive, Newborn, and Maternal Health Trust Fund."
  • The World Bank Group projects at least $700 million in financing through the end of the 2015 MDG target date to help developing countries reach the Goals on women's and children's health, as part of the Every Woman Every Child global effort. This new funding comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank Group's fund for the poorest countries, and will enable national scale-ups of successful pilot reproductive, maternal, and child health projects.
  • The IKEA Foundation will provide $80 million (60 million Euros) over the next five years to fund UNICEF programmes in India focussed on improving child survival and educating and protecting children.
  • Energia, the international network on gender and sustainable energy, committed over $10 million (8 million Euros) to support and strengthen work on gender equality and women's empowerment in the energy sector, particularly for universal energy access. The commitment – supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Foreign Ministry of Finland and the Asian Development Bank – is part of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
  • Pearson (UK) will increase total investment in innovative education solutions that deliver improved learning outcomes from $15million in 2011 to $30 million. By 2014 Pearson will establish a multi-year, flagship partnership focused on opportunities to employ ICTs and other alternative/innovative approaches to overcome learning barriers in Africa and other regions, particularly in marginalized communities. By 2018 Pearson will directly help 20,000 new graduates from across Sub-Saharan Africa transition into employment through the growth of its CTI Education Group.
  • Public Investment Corporation (South Africa) committed approximately $1.8 billion over a period of five years to investments in large-scale long-term infrastructure projects in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community. These projects will reduce environmental impact and contribute to the growth of the SADC economy through job creation, skills transfer, poverty alleviation and rural development. PIC also committed $500 million to the rest of Africa over a period of five years.
  • Total (France) will provide low-cost access to solar lamps through Total service station networks. This Awango project is developed in partnership with the IFC Lighting Africa initiative and other credible third parties, and is at cost for Total. Total aims to provide more than 1 million Awango Solar Lamps to citizens in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda and Senegal by 2015.
  • Youth Empowerment & ICT Foundation (Nigeria) will provide seed funding to 50 innovative ICT projects by young entrepreneurs; employment for 250 youth; and $2.5m in funding by 2016. The SME ICT Entrepreneur Fund will provide seed funding to young start-ups in the technology industry.

Read the full list of commitments made at the UN Private Sector Forum 2013.