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JAKARTA, INDONESIA – More than 30 representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from ten countries in Asia and the Pacific are gathering today and tomorrow at the Civil Society Consultation on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Review to step up efforts for the acceleration of MDGs achievements in the remaining five years to the 2015 deadline.
The CSO Consultation, organized by the UN Millennium Campaign in partnership with ActionAid and Global Call for Action against Poverty (GCAP), serves as a consultative forum prior to the Special Ministerial Meeting for MDGs Review in Asia and the Pacific on August 3-4, the outcome of which will be presented and discussed at the MDG Review Summit to be held in New York on 20-22 September 2010.
“This CSO review of the MDGs marks the continuation of the first of such meeting organized by Erna Witoelar, former Special Ambassador to the MDGs for Asia and the Pacific in 2005,” says Mr. Minar Pimple, Regional Director, United Nations Millennium Campaign Asia and the Pacific Regional Office. “It is one of a few meetings of this nature happening in this part of the world, allowing the CSOs’ concerted voices and demands heard in the ministerial process as they play a contributory role in achieving the MDGs,” he continues.
“The most important objective of today’s CSO meeting is to create a concrete consensus among all the stakeholders in our regional effort to realize the Goal 1 of the MDGs on hunger and poverty,” says Mr. Saroj Dash, Thematic and Governance Manager, ActionAid.
The Review was inaugurated by Rezlan Ishar Jenie, Director General of Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia. Speaking at the opening of the consultation, Mr. Rezlan says, “Achieving the MDGs is so imperative that it could mean the difference between life and death of millions of people in our region. This important meeting will contribute substantively to the Special Ministerial Meeting MDGs Review in Asia and the Pacific: Run-up to 2015 that my Government will host on August 3-4.”
He emphasized that 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. “Hence, our dialogue today becomes even more important than ever; not just for civil society but also for governments,” he urges.
Asia-Pacific Region had made several progress in some of the Goals, including reducing gender disparities in education; and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. However, several pressing challenges remain against the backdrop of the global energy, food and economic crises. Key pressing challenges include hunger and child and maternal mortality. South Asia region alone has the highest number of hungry people in the world, which significantly impacts economic growth of the region; child and maternal mortality remains one of the highest in the world; and within-country disparities between urban and rural areas.
“This CSO Consultation is very important and significant in consolidating GCAP efforts to achieve the MDGs and in helping us mobilize support for the Stand Up and Take Action in September, the biggest global MDG mobilization campaign in the recorded history, as well as providing inputs in shaping up our strategy to achieve the MDGs in our region in the remaining five years,” says Nur Amalia of GCAP.
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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 equ