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Environmental problems threaten human development progress, UN report says
UNDP_HDR2011The annual UNDP Human Development Report was released on 2 November. In the lead-up to Rio+20, the upcoming UN conference on sustainable development, this year’s edition entitled Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All focuses on the link between human development and environmental sustainability. The report calls for urgent action to slow climate change, prevent further degradation and reduce inequalities as environmental deterioration threatens to reverse recent progress in human development for the world’s poorest.


A world of 7 billion: challenges and call to action

7BillionTop United Nations officials marked the global population reaching 7 billion with a call to action to world leaders to meet the challenges that a growing population poses, from ensuring adequate food and clean water to guaranteeing equal access to security and justice. “Today, we welcome baby 7 billion. In doing so we must recognize our moral and pragmatic obligation to do the right thing for him, or for her,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a press event at UN Headquarters to mark the milestone.


International Year of Cooperatives kickoff
CooperativesThe United Nations launched the International Year of Cooperatives  under the theme “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World”, in recognition of their contribution to socio-economic development and achievement of the MDGs. The year aims at expanding public awareness of the role of cooperatives and encouraging their growth worldwide. "Cooperatives focus on the long-term," said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. "Through their use of local labour and capital, as well as their respect for the environment, cooperatives strengthen local economies while creating a sustainable future."  More details about the press conference launch.


CrowdAidsNew online participative initiative launched by UNAIDS to tackle youth and HIV

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched CrowdOutAIDS.org, an online collaborative project to crowdsource its new strategy on youth and HIV. This new project will use several social media platforms to facilitate the development of new policies to combat the pandemic. With around 3000 young people aged 15-24 becoming infected with HIV daily, making their involvement essential for an effective response to the epidemic.


New UN Office for sustainable development opens in Republic of Korea
Rio+20A new UN research and training facility designed to help poorer countries pursue sustainable development to accelerate economic growth while improving the quality of life and protecting the environment was inaugurated on 19 October 2011 in the Republic of Korea.  “[The new office] will contribute to advancing the implementation of the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference,” said Sha Zukang, the Secretary-General of the Conference to be held in Brazil in June next year.


UN offices in the field Stand Up Against Poverty

Stand_Up_JamaicaMany events were organized by over twenty field UN Information Centres (UNICs) around the world to support the Stand Up Against Poverty campaign on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Events included sport competitions, concerts, artistic contests, debates, amongst other initiatives, and involved school children, students, corporate companies, artists, famers, etc.


International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development
IDEP_2011The 2011 Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was held on 17 October on the theme "From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development", in line with the upcoming Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and with the Secretary-General’s initiative Sustainable Energy for All. We can meet the challenges we face. We can overcome them by putting people at the centre of our work,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message.


On World Food Day, a concerted effort to address root causes of hunger

For World Food Day (16 October), the UN agencies focus on the need to ensure that children have enough to eat, and address the factors that make food unaffordable for so many. “I urge world leaders in rich and poor countries alike to invest the energy and resources necessary to win the battle against hunger — a key pillar of our efforts to achieve the MDGs,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message.




UN Advocates agree to targeted actions to support the MDGs
MDG_AdvocatesMeeting on the margins of the 66th UN General Assembly, the MDG Advocates endorsed an action plan that encourages each advocate to champion at least one of the specific MDG initiatives that are grouped in two thematic clusters: food security and sustainable growth; and education and health. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro welcomed “the important leadership, passion and expertise” provided by the Advocacy Group and noted that “targeted interventions” in support of individual Goals would foster real progress.

Millennium Villages, on track to reach 2015 goals, launch final phase

Millenium_VillagesThe Millennium Villages Project, a science-based partnership between academia, business and UN agencies to achieve the MDGs moves into the next – and final – phase with new pledges announced at the UN. By helping the rural poor escape poverty and ensure that communities are on track to self-sufficiency by 2015, this new step will improve the living standards of an estimated half a million people across Africa.


UN Pays tribute to Wangari Maathai
Wangari_MaathaiThe United Nations paid tribute to late Nobel laureate, UN supporter and MDG advocate Wangari Maathai, one of Africa’s foremost environmental campaigners. Ms. Maathai was a “pioneer in articulating the links between human rights, poverty, environmental protection and security,” said Ban Ki-moon.


Every Woman Every Child- One year progress update Every_Woman_every_Child

A one-year progress updateSaving the Lives of 16 Million”, launched on 20 September 2011 at the UN, showed that in the first year of the effort, commitments have been implemented and enhanced, new partners have come on board and funding has been increased. While lauding this progress, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that millions of women and children are still dying and called for advancing the goal of saving 16 million lives by 2015.


Governments Line up at UN in Support of International Push on Maternal, Child Malnutrition
Scaling_up_nutritionOne year after the launch of the Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, a global initiative that aims to improve maternal and child nutrition, representatives of governments, civil society and the private sector joined United Nations agencies to emphasize the importance of good nutrition, especially for mothers and infants during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2. “The lives of millions of children are at stake. We can help them realize their physical and intellectual potential,” Mr. Ban told the meeting.


High-level meeting to reverse desertificationDesertification
Over 12 million hectares of productive land are lost due to desertification every year and two billion people live on drylands, according to the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Participants in a high-level United Nations meeting on 20 September 2011 highlighted the need to reverse desertification to help reduce poverty and improve development prospects.  “By refocusing our development agenda to include the potential of drylands, we can break the links between poverty and desertification, drought and land degradation,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Listen to Ban Ki-moon’s remarks.

Global campaign against non-communicable diseases launched at the UN
NCDsNon-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are estimated to cause 63 per cent of all deaths worldwide, were the focus of a two-day UN high-level General Assembly meeting which resulted in a declaration calling for a multi-pronged campaign by governments, industry and civil society to prevent and control NCDs. “Non-communicable diseases are a threat to development. NCDs hit the poor and vulnerable particularly hard, and drive them deeper into poverty,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


Global Partnership for Development: it’s “Time to Deliver”, UN report says

Task_Force_Gap_Reprot_2011Economic troubles make delivery on anti-poverty commitments even more urgent to achieve the MDGs, according to the MDG Gap Task Force Report 2011.
But support from donors, although up sharply since the inauguration of the MDGs in the year 2000, nonetheless is falling short of agreed targets. "Certainly the global economic outlook remains sobering. But this cannot be an excuse not to deliver.  We cannot afford to leave the poor even further behind," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who launched the UN’s MDG Gap Task Force report in New York. “With effort and solidarity, we can close the gaps identified in this new report. I urge all world leaders to give it their close attention," he added.
Read the press material here.
Watch the statement of the Secretary-General for the launch of the MDG Gap Task Force Report 2011 in New York on 16 September.


7 Billion Actions Initiative launched at the UN
7_Billion_ActionsWith the world’s population projected to top 7 billion in October, the United Nations launched a global initiative – 7 Billion Actions – bringing together governments, businesses, the media and individuals to confront the challenges and seize the opportunities offered by the landmark. “The moment of seven billion is not about one individual or even one generation. It is a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action for all of us,Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a panel discussion at the launch ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.


Record success against malaria, efforts must be sustained to win the battle


The world has made remarkable gains against malaria in the past ten years, as stated in a report released by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), saving the lives of more than one million people, mostly children, through the efforts of a United Nations-led global partnership. But more remains to be done as Ban Ki-moon cautioned: “Although the successes of recent years are remarkable, they need to be sustained and expanded, to prevent the disease from resurging.”


2011 International Literacy Day celebrates peace
International Literacy Day This year’s International Literacy Day, celebrated world-wide on 8 September, focused on the link between literacy and peace. Illiteracy continues to afflict nearly 800 million people unable to read or write, especially women and girls. “Literacy unlocks the capacity of individuals to imagine and create a more fulfilling future” said the UN Secretary-General. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) marked the day with several initiatives. “The world urgently needs increased political commitment to literacy backed by adequate resources to scale up effective programmes,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a message.


Kaiser/UNAIDS study finds overall drop in funding for AIDS response in 2010

UN_AIDSFunding disbursements from donor governments for the AIDS response fell in 2010, dropping 10% from the previous year’s level, according to an annual funding analysis conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). “AIDS is a smart investment even in this difficult economic environment. We have to look beyond the near-term costs and recognize the long-term benefits,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Donors need to make and follow through on commitments today to reduce costs in the future,” he added.


New report shows how the UN can help achieve the MDGs through procurement choices
2010_Procurement and_MDGs Organizations can make a significant contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals through their procurement choices, according to UNOPS' new  Procurement and the Millennium Development Goals report which is a supplement to the 2010 Annual Statistical Report on United Nations Procurement. From buying goods from female-owned businesses in post-war Afghanistan to changing markets through environmental policies in China, the report shows how the UN, which spent $14.5 billion in 2010, can use its purchasing power as a force for good.



A new web-based tool to help combat malnutrition
Malnutrition_WHOAs part of a global effort to improve maternal and child health, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) launched a web-based initiative: the electronic Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA). The new e-tool brings together the latest WHO guidelines, commentaries and evidence resources on the topic of nutrition to stimulate effective actions and guide policy design. The launch took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka on the occasion of a three-day Asian regional meeting designed to help governments overcome malnutrition.


World Breastfeeding Week to raise awareness of a life saving practice
World Breastfeeding Day
The United Nations and its partners are promoting the benefits of breastfeeding during the World Breastfeeding Week (1 - 7 August). Breastfeeding is directly linked to reducing the death toll of children under five, yet only 36 per cent of infants below the age of six months in developing countries are exclusively breastfed, according to UNICEF. “Breastfed is best fed, whether the baby is born in Uganda or England, China or Canada,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.


DPI NGO Conference to examine "Sustainable Societies; Responsive Citizens"


The 2011 DPI NGO Conference will take place from 3 to 5 September 2011 in Bonn, Germany. With the theme "Sustainable Societies; Responsive Citizens," the conference will stress two themes: sustainable societies and the impact volunteers are making on sustainable livelihoods. NGOs will have the opportunity to contribute to the two-day special session of the General Assembly on the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers in December 2011 and begin preparations for input into the 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development--Rio +20. Registration will be open until Friday 16 August.

World Population Day: 7 Billion People -- 7 Billion Actions
7_Billion_ActionsThis World Population Day (11 July) falls in a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth's seven billionth inhabitant. "This is an opportunity to celebrate our common humanity and our diversity. It is also a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for each other and our planet," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. In a world that is more interconnected than ever before, challenges such as poverty, inequality, women’s rights, aging, and the environment belong to all of us. That's why UNFPA and partners are launching a campaign called 7 Billion Actions. It aims to engage people, spur commitment and spark actions related to the opportunities and challenges presented by a world of 7 billion people.

Major progress towards Millennium Development Goals, but the most vulnerable are left behind, UN report says


Significant strides have been made towards the Millennium Development Goals, yet reaching all the goals by the 2015 deadline remains challenging, as the world's poorest are being left behind, according to the MDG Report 2011, the UN's annual progress report. "The MDGs have helped lift millions of people out of poverty, save countless children's lives and ensure that they attend school," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "At the same time, we still have a long way to go in empowering women and girls, promoting sustainable development, and protecting the most vulnerable." Read the press materials here.

Watch or read the statement of the Secretary-General for the launch of the UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 in Geneva on 7 July 2011.


UN launches major push to improve sanitation
Sustainable_SanitationWith 2.6 billion people -- 40 per cent of the world's population -- still without access to a toilet or latrine, sanitation is among the Millennium Development Goal targets lagging farthest behind. Sanitation for all: the drive to 2015 aims to mobilize political will and resources to expand sanitation across the globe. "It is time to put sanitation and access to proper toilets at the centre of our development discussions," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

General Assembly debates final push to 2015
Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose MigiroAddressing the UN General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed the need to protect development gains achieved so far despite the fiscal austerity measures undertaken in the wake of the global financial crisis, saying great social benefits arise from investing in poverty eradication programmes. The Development Dialogue focused on women's and children's health and on strategies toward 2015 and beyond.

World leaders set bold new AIDS targets
2011 High Level Meeting on AIDSThirty years into the AIDS epidemic, world leaders came together to review progress and chart the future course of the global AIDS response at a High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on 8–10 June. UNAIDS estimates that 34 million people are living with HIV and nearly 30 million people have died of AIDS-related causes since the first case of AIDS was reported on 5 June 1981.

Secretary-General presses for bold measures to meet MDGs
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announces his intention to run for a second term as UN chief
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged ministers from around the world to "act boldly" to meet the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "The agreed deadline of 2015 is fast approaching. We must live up to the promises we made at the turn of the millennium," he said in a video message to an MDG meeting in Tokyo.

New global partnership for women's and girls' education
Better Life, Better Future cover brochureAbout 39 million adolescent girls are missing out on an education, and two thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate adults are women. "Better Life, Better Future" -- a new global initiative led by UNESCO -- focuses on reaching illiterate or semi-literate adolescent girls and expanding women’s literacy programmes. "Investing in the education of women and girls anywhere brings huge returns for health and great benefits for society," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

UN chief spotlights progress on women's and children's health
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Maitama General Hospital in AbujaVisiting health workers in Ethiopia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spotlighted the progress made in improving the health of women and children, while also stressing the need to do more. "We have seen so many women and children dying needlessly from preventable diseases," Mr. Ban said. "Training good health workers, training good midwives can save a lot of women’s and also children’s lives." In Nigeria, he commended the government for investing in women's and children's health. Watch the video!

New commitments to save women and children
A young mother and childSixteen countries announced new commitments to dramatically reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, as part of the UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. "Political and financial support for action on women's and children's health is reaching new and encouraging heights,'' said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is leading the Every Woman Every Child campaign to accelerate progress on Millennium Development Goals 4 (child mortality) and 5 (maternal health).

World Malaria Day -- A day to act
25 April is devoted to the fight against malaria, which afflicts as many as half a billion people, mainly in Africa, and kills a child every 45 seconds. “On World Malaria Day this year, there is much to celebrate,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. But "to reach our goal of near zero deaths from malaria by 2015, we need an extraordinary intensification of our actions.” See how you can act and watch the video.

Least Developed Countries can break out of poverty trap
A blue-ribbon report released ahead of the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in May says that these countries can break out of a decades-long poverty trap, depending on determined national action and international support. Pointing to the high incidence of conflicts in countries with extreme poverty and weak institutions, the Report by the Group of Eminent Persons says that "increasing marginalization of the LDCs is creating a future that we, as a global community, cannot afford."


World Water Day
Half of the world's people live in cities today, and the urban population is growing rapidly. About 828 million people live in slums or informal settlements, often without safe drinking water or toilets. World Water Day (22 March) focused on Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge. "Let us pledge to reverse the alarming decline in pro-poor investment in water and sanitation," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

UN Women -- for gender equality and the empowerment of women
UN Women -- the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women -- celebrated its creation at UN Headquarters on 24 February. "With the birth of UN Women, we welcome a powerful new agent for progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. The General Assembly voted unanimously to create the new entity last year, combining four previous UN bodies. UN Women is headed by former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The State of the World’s Children 2011
The world is home to 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10 to 19. The vast majority of them live in developing countries and face a unique set of challenges. Investing in adolescent can break entrenched cycles of poverty and inequity and ensure that adolescence becomes an age of opportunity, according to a new report by UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2011: Adolescence – An Age of Opportunity.

Celebrities join push for action on the Millennium Development Goals
Antonio Banderas, Angelique Kidjo, Zinedine Zidane, Maria Sharapova and Annie Lennox are among the UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace who have been and will continue to champion the cause of the Millennium Development Goals. "I thank these outstanding leaders for joining our push to advance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "They are household names who are bringing the message of global justice and solidarity to homes and communities around the world."



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