'500 Days' to accelerate #MDGmomentum start

Aug 18, 2014

#MDG1: Kellen Kenganzi, 30, salesperson of Rubona Basket Weavers Association (RUBAWA), a local crafts group in Rubona Village, Fort Portal, attending to a client. The association, which set up shop in 2005, makes over 100 baskets per week, each retailing at Ug Shs30,000 (US$11). “In a month we can make between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 shillings,” says Kenganzi.(Photo: UNDP/Edgar Batte)

Today marks the start of a 500-day countdown to the end of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Over the course of 500 minutes today, the United Nations Development Programme, will join a broad group of MDG supporters to raise awareness of MDG progress and solutions, and to rally the world to join the UN and continue the #MDGmomentum. 

Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000, the MDGs - eight goals to improve lives around the world - have provided the global benchmarks for boosting education, eliminating poverty and hunger, empowering women and girls, protecting the environment, improving maternal health and combating infectious diseases. 13 years later, significant progress has been made by many countries in meeting many of the targets.

Uganda has already met two of its seventeen MDG targets – halving the number of people living in absolute poverty from 56% in 1992/93 to 19.7% in 2012/13, and achieving debt relief five years ahead of schedule. The Millennium Development Goals Report for Uganda 2013, also shows similar gains in child survival with mortality rates for children under five dropping by 41%. Uganda is also on track to achieve goal three on gender equality and empowering women as well as increasing access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation under goal seven on environmental sustainability. Despite these successes, maternal health remains stagnant while HIV/AIDS, one of the country’s hitherto success stories, is in reversal.

In a statement to launch the campaign, UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, says the MDGS have “helped unite, inspire and transform”. In his statement, Mr Ban outlines four areas of action that will fuel progress of the MDGs:

First: making strategic investments in health, education, energy and sanitation, with a special focus on empowering women and girls, which boosts results across the board.

Second: focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable countries, communities and social groups that have the toughest road to progress despite their best efforts.

Third: keeping our financial promises.  These are difficult budgetary times.  But budgets should never be balanced on the backs of society’s weakest individuals. 

Fourth: deepening cooperation with governments, civil society, the private sector and other networks around the world that have helped make the MDGs the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.

“Action now will save lives, build a solid foundation for sustainable development far beyond 2015 and help lay the groundwork for lasting peace and human dignity,” adds the Secretary General, who will mark the day at the United Nations Headquarters with education advocate Malala Yousafzai, and 500 young people.

Get involved and join the global conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags: #MDGMomentum | #EndPoverty

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