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JAKARTA, INDONESIA – As leaders from across Asia and the Pacific meet in Jakarta to develop an action plan to end poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, civil society activists say citizen monitoring must be at the heart of these efforts.
Citizen monitoring is a process that enables people to hold governments to account for the delivery of basic services and the delivery of more and better aid.
“It is vital that citizens around the world demand an end to poverty and inequality” explains Nur Amalia of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. “We must hold governments accountable for the promises they have made, especially at this time when millions more have fallen into poverty as a result of the global financial crises.”
Civil society leaders have adopted a charter to present to the Special Ministerial Meeting, in which citizen monitoring is one of several key demands calling for accelerated achievement of the MDGs, including:
1) Promote the MDGs as human rights, ensure gender equality and social inclusion, with universal access to quality public basic services
2) Ensure accountable and transparent governance by promoting rights to information and encouraging local citizen participation in monitoring the MDGs;
3) Ensure food and nutrition security by increasing inclusive investment in agriculture;
4) Promote domestic resource mobilization and expanding the government’s revenue base while exploring new and innovative financing mechanisms.
Failure to achieve the MDGs by 2015 would mean an additional 128 million people living in poverty on top of the 420 million people who would remain trapped in extreme poverty. One million children under the age of five would die and an additional 31 million children would suffer from hunger; and 7 million more children would drop out of school.
“The MDGs are now at a crucial juncture as the year 2010 marks the completion of the first decade of the global MDG implementation,” says Minar Pimple, United Nations Millennium Campaign Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “It is time to reflect on how far we have come and at the same time, look ahead strategically to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs in the remaining five years. Time is running out and we are here to urge the Asian leaders to step up and take positive actions toward achievement of the MDGs for all.”
“Civil Society engagement is vital to achieving the MDGs, particularly at a time when one billion people live in hunger,” adds Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid, Bangladesh. “The past decade has seen significant progress in the region due to our concerted efforts. We strongly encourage regional leaders and development partners to build on these successful experiences to reach our common goal.”
Ms. Kabir will present the Civil Society Charter on 3 August at the Special Ministerial Meeting for MDGs Review. This Charter will also be presented to world leaders, along with the World We Want charters from other regions, at the UN MDG Summit in September on the eve of which, citizens from across the globe will Stand Up and Take Action from 17 – 19 September, calling on their governments to meet the MDGs.
Note to editors:
About the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The MDGs are time-bound, concrete and specific goals that 189 world leaders committed to achieving by 2015 at the United Nations Summit in September 2000. These goals are: 1) end extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieve universal primary education; 3) promote gender equality and empower women; 4) reduce child mortality; 5) improve maternal health; 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7) ensure environmental sustainability and 8) develop a global partnership for development.
The UN Millennium Campaign was established by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2002. The Campaign supports citizens’ efforts to hold their governments to account for the achievement of the Millennium Developm