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bringing you the latest news, information and analysis from
international environment and sustainable sustainable development negotiations





This page was updated on: 09/26/07





The World Summit's outcome has received a mixed response ranging from enthusiastic to dismissive. Billed as the largest gathering of heads of State in history, the Summit, which took place at UN headquarters from 14-16 September 2005, resulted in the adoption of an outcome document that addresses issues ranging from terrorism to poverty. The text had been the focus of months of negotiations, with many fearing that no agreement would be reached, particularly after arguments arose over deletions proposed by the U.S. in late August.

A UN press statement asserted that world leaders had pledged to "give new momentum to global development goals and to strengthen the 60-year old world body, so that it can live up to the ideals on which it was founded." The statement also noted commitments on development, new UN bodies for peacebuilding and human rights, the Millennium Development Goals, and an additional US$50 billion a year to fight poverty. Security Council reform was not approved, however, while UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed "particular disappointment" that references to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were not included in the final text.

On environment and sustainable development, some experts seemed pleased with the level of detail and commitments made in text on major issues such as climate change, biodiversity, integrated water resources management, sustainable consumption and production, disaster reduction, forestry, chemicals and hazardous wastes, and oceans and seas. There were also sections on pressing development issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other health issues, human settlements, gender equality, financing for development, science and technology for development, and the special needs of Africa, landlocked developing countries, the least developed countries, and small island developing States. According to some, the outcome affirmed the important environment and development goals and will set the agenda for years to come.

However, many experts criticized the final outcome, arguing that it contained almost nothing new, and for the most part repeated earlier agreements. One non-governmental organization called the Summit a "big letdown," while another called the documents outcome on climate change "empty words…[with] no firm action."

Numerous other events also took place alongside the Summit (see other reports, below). The Summit was followed by the regular session of the UN General Assembly, which will continue to meet in its 60th session until December.

Links to further information
2005 World Summit Outcome – official document, September 2005
World Leaders Pledge Wide-Ranging Steps on Poverty, Terrorism, Human Rights, UN Reform, UN news release and country statements at the Summit, 16 September 2005
Although World Summit Outcome 'Disappointing', UN Reform Efforts Must Continue, General Assembly Told, UN news release, 21 September 2005
UN reforms receive mixed response, BBC news, 17 September 2005
World Leaders Fall Short of Larger Goals in Effort to Fight Poverty, Terrorism at U.N. Summit, ABC news, 17 September 2005
UN World Summit: Empty Words on Climate Change, Friends of the Earth press release, 16 September 2005
NGO Reaction: Aid workers assess U.N. World Summit, AlertNet, September 2005
The Big Letdown: UN Summit shortchanges the poor, CIVICUS, September 2005



Public-private partnerships were strongly supported at an event held during the 2005 World Summit in New York. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) organized a dialogue on 14 September 2005 on the business contribution to development. Approximately 65 representatives of government and business, as well as experts in the field of development, attended the roundtable discussions. The meeting revealed a great deal of interest in public-private partnerships (PPPs), two of which were announced during the course of the meeting: SNV Netherlands Development Organization and the WBCSD are exploring the formulation of a strategic partnership to contribute to sustainable poverty alleviation through job creation and delivery of products and services needed in the developing world by sustainable business involvement; and the University of Cambridge's Programme for Industry is working with WBCSD and the UN Development Programme to establish the Business and Poverty Leadership Programme.

Link to further information
WBCSD briefing, 22 September 2005


A difference of opinion over the effectiveness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has led to an online debate between experts. Amir Attaran, a global development specialist, and Jeffrey Sachs and his colleagues at the UN Millennium Project, debated the effectiveness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), given the difficulty in measuring the goals. The discussion was presented by SciDev.Net as a "news special" alongside the 2005 World Summit.

Links to further information
Amir Attaran's original criticism of the UN's lack of measurement of the MDGs, 13 September 2005
Jeffrey Sachs and colleagues' rebuttal, 13 September 2005
Attaran's response, 14 September 2005



Negotiations were continuing on the eve of the World Summit starting in New York on 14 September, with delegates still working on the draft outcome document as of Monday, 12 September 2005. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned on 9 September that "more give and take" was needed among negotiators. Meanwhile, non-governmental organizations meeting in New York have urged delegates not to "squander this most important opportunity" and to agree on a strong outcome document on poverty, development, and other related issues. The announcement was agreed at the end of the 58th Annual UN Department of Public Information (DPI)/NGO Conference, held from 7-9 September.


Links to further information

Annan 'very concerned' accord may not be reached on World Summit document, 10 September 2005

UN ambassadors launch crisis talks on reform plans, Reuters news, 30 August 2005

DPI/NGO 2005 conference website



A roundtable has been held in Geneva on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and some of the UN Secretary-General's proposed reforms. The event, held in Geneva on 12 September 2005, attracted around 80 participants to discuss different environmental issues related to Millennium Development Goals and the World Summit in New York. A group of six panelists and one moderator presented related topics that were then discussed with participants. Principal attention was given to: the conflicts and difficulties that the negotiations at the World Summit will encounter; the need to give environmental issues more attention in the MDGs; the need to keep the linkage between all of the MDGs; the large-scale mobilization that the MDG's have caused independent of the negotiations; the fact that the MDG's are achievable; and that fact that, even if some progress has been made on the goals, a lot of work still lies ahead. The Roundtable was organized by the Geneva Environment Network (GEN). (IISD internal sources).





Non-governmental organizations have launched an interactive website ahead of the World Summit (Millennium Review) taking place in a few weeks. The site was launched in mid-August. The website.



Development and poverty goals are in danger of being sidelined by other issues at the upcoming Millennium Summit review in September, according to non-governmental organizations. The Third World Network has warned that a preoccupation with UN reform, security and human rights is pushing development and poverty issues to the sidelines. Many non-governmental organizations are calling for a strong focus on attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Meanwhile, other recent reports in mid- to late August suggested that discussions on a draft Summit outcome document remained deadlocked on most of the key issues, raising concerns that the final text would not be as strong as many were hoping for.


Links to further information

IPS news reports, August 2005: and

Bolton Pushes U.N. on Change as U.S. Objects to Draft Plan, New York Times, 25 August 2005



A Children's World Summit for the Environment has ended with a challenge to world leaders to work on renewable energy, water issues, biodiversity and recycling. Meanwhile, a second event aimed at young people has dwelt on measures to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The second Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit, held from 18-23 August in Ifrane, Morocco, ended in an agreement to endorse sport as an entry point for mobilizing the region's youth to help advance the MDGs. The meeting involved youth leaders from more than 40 countries, and was backed by the UN Development Programme.


Meanwhile, the Children's Summit was organized by the UN Environment Programme and held in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, from 26-29 July 2005. Approximately 600 delegates aged 10 to 14 years came from 65 nations to attend the Summit, during which they shared experiences on important environmental issues. Each day focused on a different theme, with the four themes covered being energy, biodiversity, water and recycling, and the participants made commitments relevant to each theme. In their closing Summit Statement, participants committed themselves to saving energy and using renewable energy sources and challenged leaders to create and enforce laws to improve efficiency in production, consumption and conservation of energy. They also placed their message on a 14-meter-long canvas, which they were assured would be placed in front of UN Headquarters in New York during the September World Summit, to remind the world's presidents and prime ministers of the hope of children for a better environment. The 2006 conference will take place in Putrajaya, Malaysia.


In related news, International Youth Day was observed on 12 August.


Links to further information

UN-backed youth summit pledges action on Millennium Development Goals, UN News Centre report, 23 August 2005

Children challenge world leaders on the environment, UNEP news release, 29 July 2005


JULY 2005



Former US President Bill Clinton is organizing a meeting on major global problems timed to coincide with the UN General Assembly's High-level Review of the Millennium Outcomes (or "2005 World Summit"). The Clinton Global Initiative, which will convene from 15-17 September 2005 in New York, will include workshops focusing on poverty, religion as a force for reconciliation, climate change, and governance. Participants will be required to make a specific commitment related to one of the four issues, and to fulfill it by the next annual meeting.


Links to further information

"Bill Clinton plans private summit on global woes," Reuters NetAlert, 13 July 2005

Clinton Global Initiative website



A UN General Assembly dialogue with civil society has addressed development concerns and the need for the upcoming General Assembly High-level Plenary in September to take strong action. The "Informal Interactive Hearings of the General Assembly with NGOs, civil society organizations and the private sector" focused on issues of development, security, human rights and UN reform. The two-day dialogue, the first of its kind, took place from 23-24 June 2005 at UN Headquarters in New York, and involved a "cross-section of some 200 civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and some 1000 more observers."


Many speakers focused on the Millennium Development Goals, calling for stronger action at the UN General Assembly's September High-level Plenary – or "2005 World Summit." The links between sustainable development and security were also considered.


Links to further information

UN records of the meetings, 23-24 July 2005


JUNE 2005



The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has met for its high-level segment, focusing on internationally-agreed development goals such as those contained in the Millennium Declaration. Held at UN Headquarters in New York from 29 June to 1 July 2005, the meeting concluded without the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration, with ECOSOC's President noting in the closing plenary that negotiators did not appear to be ready at this stage to formalize commitments ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly High-level Plenary – or "2005 World Summit" – which will take place in September 2005. IISDRS coverage of this meeting.


Following the High-level Segment, ECOSOC reconvened for its substantive session for 2005. This is scheduled to include a Coordination Segment (5-7 July); Operational Activities Segment (8-12 July); Humanitarian Affairs Segment (13-18 July); General Segment (18-25 July); and concluding segment (26-27 July).


The Coordination Segment included discussions with the major UN regional commissions, which reported mixed progress on the development goals. Meanwhile, the Operational Activities Segment included a panel on alternative options for funding development, and discussions on South-South cooperation and on the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities for development.


Links to further information

Regional Assessments of Progress Meeting Anti-Poverty Goals Reveal at Best 'Mixed Picture', Economic and Social Council Told, UN report, 5 July 2005

ECOSOC Holds Panel on Alternative Development Funding Options, Dialogue with Fund, Programme Heads, UN report, 11 July 2005

Economic and Social Council Ends Debate on Operational Activities for Development after Discussion on Triennial Review Process, South-South Cooperation, UN report, 12 June 2005 



(UN, June 2005) This status report was prepared by 25 UN agencies and international organizations regarding efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals. It indicates that the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by 130 million worldwide since 1990, even with overall population growth of more than 800 million in the developing regions since that time. The Report will also provide input to the 27-28 June 2005 high-level dialogue in the UN General Assembly, on financing for development and follow-up on the 2002 Monterrey Consensus. The report.



A new high-level report from a US task force has urged significant reforms to the United Nations, while the US House of Representatives has voted to withhold its UN dues unless such reforms take place. The report, American Interests and UN Reform, is the output from a 12-member bipartisan US task force, chaired by former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. The task force was charged with assessing reforms that would enable the UN to better meet the goals of its 1945 charter and offer the US Congress an agenda to strengthen the UN. The vote in the House of Representatives, which was passed on 17 June 2005, just days after the new report was released, was passed by 221 votes to 184. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed suggestions for UN reform, but described calls to withhold funds as not the most productive approach.


Links to further information

US task force report, June 2005
Following Vote in US House, Annan Says He is 'Deeply Committed' to UN Reform, UN news center, 17 June 2005
House Threatens to Withhold U.N. Dues, CNN report, 18 June 2005



The President of the UN General Assembly has released a draft outcome document for September's high-level review of the Millennium Summit and its outcomes. The document, which was distributed to government officials at UN headquarters on Friday, 3 June, sets out suggestions for outcomes on UN reform, development issues, peace and security, and human rights. General Assembly President, Jean Ping of Gabon, told officials that the report had been drafted following "intense negotiations" held over the past two months in New York on possible outcomes. It seeks to build on reactions to Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recent report, In Larger Freedom, which presents an update on the UN Millennium Declaration, adopted nearly five years ago. Member States will now be given two to three weeks to consider the draft outcome document. Detailed negotiations are set to resume at UN headquarters on 21 June, and to continue until the second half of July. While there appears to be general support for an increase in official development assistance, sources indicate that many other issues, including UN reform, remain highly sensitive. UN President's press conference report, 3 June.


MAY 2005



The Millennium Development Goals were the focus of the fourth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Held at UN Headquarters in New York from 16-27 May 2005, the session focused in particular on Goal 1 (eradicating poverty) and Goal 2 (primary education for all). The Forum meeting recommended a human rights approach to development and the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in MDG-related programmes. The Forum also expressed concern that, unless the situation and voices of indigenous peoples are taken into account, the MDG process may lead to accelerated loss of land and natural resources, and further marginalization, discrimination and impoverishment of indigenous peoples.


Link to further information:

Meeting website and Report of the Meeting, May/June 2005



The case for a UN Environment Organization based in Nairobi, Kenya was the focus of recent informal government consultations. The consultations, which took place in Berlin, Germany on 27 May 2005, involved officials from 36 countries, the European Commission, UNDP and UNEP. According to IISD Linkages sources, the meeting addressed a range of issues relating to upgrading UNEP into a UN Environment Organization (UNEO), including options for a mandate and budget. There were reportedly suggestions by some countries that the UN General Assembly High-level Plenary Meeting scheduled to take place in September 2005 could initiate a process in the framework of UN reform on the possible establishment of a UNEO. However, some participants expressed concerns that a UNEO could lead to an organization "with enforcement powers" Issues of participation and funding were also raised, with some officials suggesting that a UNEO might require additional funding that could prove to be a burden for developing countries. However, supporters of a UNEO argued that the Organization would not have enforcement powers, and would designed to support full participation and could result in more predictable and adequate funding. The meeting took place on the same day as an article was published by the Environment Ministers of Germany, France and Spain calling for "a strong UN Environment Organization." The article.


MARCH 2005



Released at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on 21 March 2005, the Secretary-General's report entitled "In larger freedom: Towards development, security and human rights for all," is expected to provide the basis for discussion and decisions during the High-Level Plenary meeting of the General Assembly's 60th session from 14-16 September 2005. According to the Secretary-General, the high level plenary meeting "will be a unique opportunity for the world's leaders to consider a broad range of issues and make decisions that will improve the lives of people around the world significantly."


The report addresses a number of key issues facing the global community. In chapter 2, Freedom from want, the Secretary-General addresses: the need for a shared vision of development; the establishment of national strategies; trade and financing for development; ensuring environmental sustainability; other priorities for global action; and the need to address the implementation challenge. In chapter 3, Freedom from fear, the Secretary-General addresses: a vision of collective security; preventing catastrophic terrorism; nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; reducing the risk and prevalence of war; and the use of force. In chapter 4, Freedom to live in dignity, the Secretary-General addresses the importance of the rule of law, human rights and democracy. In chapter 5, Strengthening the United Nations, the Secretary-General addresses options for reforming the General Assembly, the Councils, the Secretariat, ensuring system coherence, the role of regional organizations, and updating the Charter of the United Nations. The report also contains an Annex for decision by Heads of State and Government, listing all the Secretary-General's recommendations, which are expected to lay the foundation for a decision in September. The Secretary-General's recommendations are based in part on the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the report of the UN Millennium Project.


Regarding global environmental governance and the UN Environment Programme, the Secretary-General recommended the need for a more integrated structure for environmental standard-setting, scientific discussion and monitoring, and treaty compliance that is built on existing institutions, such as UNEP, as well as the treaty bodies and specialized agencies, and that assigns environmental activities at the operational level to the development agencies to ensure an integrated approach to sustainable development;


On climate change, the Secretary-General recommended the need to ensure concerted global action to mitigate climate change, including through technological innovation, and underscored the need to develop a more inclusive international framework for climate change beyond 2012, with broader participation by all major emitters and both developing and developed countries, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Among the recommendations proposed by the Secretary-General to Heads of State and Government were calls to world leaders to:

§       Reaffirm and commit themselves to implementing the development consensus agreed in 2002 at the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico and the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and centered on the Millennium Development Goals;

§       Recognize the special needs of Africa and reaffirm the solemn commitments made to address those needs on an urgent basis;

§       Decide that each developing country with extreme poverty should by 2006 adopt and begin to implement a comprehensive national strategy bold enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals targets for 2015;

§       Undertake to ensure that developed countries that have not already done so establish timetables to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance by no later than 2015, starting with significant increases no later than 2006 and reaching at least 0.5 per cent by 2009;

§       Decide that debt sustainability should be redefined as the level of debt that allows a country to both achieve the Millennium Development Goals and reach 2015 without an increase in its debt ratios; that, for most HIPC countries, this will require exclusively grant-based finance and 100 per cent debt cancellation, while for many heavily indebted non-HIPC and middle-income countries it will require significantly more debt reduction than has yet been on offer; and that additional debt cancellation should be achieved without reducing the resources available to other developing countries and without jeopardizing the long-term financial viability of international financial institutions;

§       Complete the World Trade Organization Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations no later than 2006, with full commitment to realizing its development focus, and as a first step provide immediate duty-free and quota-free market access for all exports from the least developed countries;

§       Decide to launch, in 2005, an International Financial Facility to support an immediate front-loading of official development assistance, underpinned by commitments to achieving the 0.7 per cent ODA target no later than 2015; and to consider other innovative sources of finance for development to supplement the Facility in the longer term;

§       Decide to launch a series of "quick win" initiatives so as to realize major immediate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals through such measures as the free distribution of malaria bednets and effective antimalaria medicines, the expansion of home-grown school meals programmes using locally produced foods and the elimination of user fees for primary education and health services;

§       Ensure that the international community urgently provides the resources needed for an expanded and comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS, as identified by UNAIDS and its partners, and full funding for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria;

§       Reaffirm gender equality and the need to overcome pervasive gender bias by increasing primary school completion and secondary school access for girls, ensuring secure tenure of property to women, ensuring access to reproductive health services, promoting equal access to labor markets, providing opportunity for greater representation in government decision-making bodies, and supporting direct interventions to protect women from violence;

§       Recognize the need for significantly increased international support for scientific research and development to address the special needs of the poor in the areas of health, agriculture, natural resource and environmental management, energy and climate; and

§       Decide that, starting in 2005, developing countries that put forward sound, transparent and accountable national strategies and require increased development assistance should receive a sufficient increase in aid, of sufficient quality and arriving with sufficient speed to enable them to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Links to more information

In Larger Freedom website

Secretary-General presents report "In larger freedom" to General Assembly, outlining ambitious plan for United Nations Reform, 21 March 2005

Secretary-General calls for a deal by world leaders on poverty, security and human rights, UN press release, 20 March 2005

Follow-up to the Millennium Declaration resolution 58/291

Report of the Secretary-General on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the 60th session of the General Assembly

Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change

Millennium Project report

Millennium Project recommendations





The UN Millennium Project recently launched its comprehensive strategy to combat poverty and hunger, proposing measures and guidelines that seek to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Presented to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 17 January, the report entitled "Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals" underscores the importance of the MDGs, tracks their implementation, and considers various means of supporting their achievement, including through public investment, civil society participation, and private sector contribution. The report also identifies the special needs of Africa, highlights strategies for countries affected by conflict, and discusses the need to revamp development aid, calling for targeted investments to address various challenges. Prepared by a team of over 260 development experts, the report is launched several months ahead of the major high-level plenary session that will be held in September at the opening of the 60th session of the General Assembly, which is slated to review progress in implementation of the outcome of the 2000 Millennium Summit, as well as the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major UN conferences in the economic, social and related fields. The Millennium Project report. The task force reports.





The UN General Assembly adopted on 17 December the modalities, format and organization of the High-level Plenary Meeting of its 60th session (A/RES/59/145). In the resolution, the General Assembly agreed that the High-Level Plenary Meeting would be held from 14-16 September 2005, and that it would comprise six plenary meetings, with two meetings a day, and four interactive roundtable sessions. This format is similar to that of the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, which the high-level plenary will review among other things.


The Assembly also decided to hold a High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development from 27-28 June 2005 in New York immediately prior to the ministerial segment of the 2005 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in order for the Dialogue's recommendations to be considered during the preparatory process for the high-level plenary. The GA further decided to hold a separate meeting on financing for development within the framework of the High-level Plenary Meeting


The General Assembly requested the GA President to organize informal interactive hearings in June 2005 in New York with representatives of NGOs, civil society organizations and the private sector, as an input to the preparatory process of the high-level plenary. The 60th session General Assembly will hold its general debate from 17-23 September, and 26-28 September.





The United Nations General Assembly met recently to discuss arrangements for the 2005 high-level plenary to be held during the 60th session of the General Assembly. This major event will review progress in implementation of the outcome of the 2000 Millennium Summit, as well as the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major UN conferences in the economic, social and related fields. The General Assembly's deliberations were based on the Secretary-General's report on modalities format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting (A/59/545) and the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration (A/59/282). Delegates agreed in general to the Secretary-General's recommendations on modalities for the high-level plenary, in particular that it be held from 14-16 September 2005 and that it follow the format and structure of the Millennium Summit with three days of plenary debate, comprising two meetings per day and four round-table discussions.


Links to further information

UN press releases: 22 November and 23 November 2004



UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has released his report on the modalities, format and organization of the 2005 Millennium+5 Summit, recommending among things that the high-level event takes place from 14-16 September 2005 at the commencement of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. The report recommends that the Summit follow a similar format to the 2000 Millennium summit, comprising plenary meetings and interactive roundtables. In addition to undertaking a comprehensive review of the progress made towards the commitments within the UN Millennium Declaration adopted at the Millennium Summit, the 2005 event is also recommended to review progress made in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes and commitments of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. The current session of the General Assembly will be finalizing its decision on the format and structure of Millennium+5 Summit in the next few months.


Links to further information

Secretary-General's report on modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting

UNGA Resolution A/RES/58/291

2005 summit on Millennium Declaration to be 'decisive' to UN's future, UN news centre, 3 November 2004





A preliminary draft of the UN Millennium Project's final report is available for public comment. The current chapters address topics such as the MDGs and global development, who's on track and who's not in meeting the MDGs, the roles of public investment, good governance and the private sector, challenges of scaling-up, and the special needs of various regions. The report also provides an analytical framework that looks at where and how investment, growth and poverty come into play. The draft report is based on the interim reports issued by the ten task forces overseen by the Millennium Project. The final report will be submitted to the UN Secretary-General in January 2005 as part of a larger UN review on the progress towards achieving internationally-agreed development goals. Comments on the draft should be submitted by 1 November 2004. The draft.


JULY 2004



Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, briefed the UN Economic and Social Council on "The Emerging Recommendations of the Millennium Project: A Global Business Plan to Achieve the MDGs" on 21 July 2004. Sachs said greater cooperation between rich and poor states will be necessary if the MDGs are to be met. He urged rich states to take steps including scaling up development aid, reducing or canceling debt, removing protectionist barriers for agricultural goods and increasing access to western markets. He called on poor states to draft national poverty reduction strategy papers that clearly outline how money will be invested, how spending will be monitored and how to ensure that women will reap the same benefits as men.


Links to further information

UN wire story, 23 July 2004 news story, 22 July 2004

Inter Press Service News Agency news story, 22 July 2004


JUNE 2004



From Brazil to Athens, Equatorial Guinea to Shanghai, one can scarcely hear a speech delivered by a United Nations representative without hearing mention of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Comprising eight goals, 18 targets and over 40 indicators, the MDGs made their first public appearance in September 2001 in a Secretary-General's report entitled the Road Map towards the Implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration (A/56/26), where they were formulated by members of the UN Secretariat and others to help focus national and international development priority-setting and to enable progress on the development goals adopted by world leaders at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit to be tracked.


With 2005 marking the fifth anniversary of the Millennium Summit, the UN system has stepped up its efforts to promote the MDGs across the globe. Calls by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette and other high-level UN representatives to take steps toward meeting the MDGs are not confined to intergovernmental and international meetings. These rallying cries are also being made to civil society, most recently by Annan and Fréchette at university commencement events and to charitable foundations. Interestingly enough, while there is increasing recognition that the MDGs cannot be met without the involvement of the private sector, Annan did not seize the opportunity to reach out to corporate executives at the recent Global Compact Leaders Summit. No mention of the MDGs was made in Annan's opening speech at the Summit and only a passing reference to the goals was heard in his closing speech.


In addition to advancing the MDGs outside of the UN system, efforts are also being made to integrate them internally within the UN. Annan has asked UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown, in his capacity as chair of the UN Development Group, to be the coordinator of the MDGs in the UN system and to integrate them into the UN's work around the world.


Links to further information

UN MDG website

UNDP MDG website



2005 represents the last chance to make the course corrections to get on track for the MDGs, said UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown during a recent press briefing. He underscored the need to further involve the private sector in meeting the MDGs, noting that the level of investment needed to this end was beyond the capacities of the public sector alone. He also said UN reform was currently not sufficient, that its agenda was too driven by "an opportunistic search for donor resources wherever they could be found," and that it was inadequate in delivering on its two critical roles at the country level: providing technical assistance and capacity building, and advocating key issues like health or children.


In the recent Executive Board meeting of UNDP and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Malloch Brown called on the UN development system to step up to the challenge of playing its part in achieving the MDGs and to make this upcoming 2005 review of the Millennium Summit "one with a global action plan: a summit where, country-by-country, goal-by-goal and sector-by-sector, we can clarify the investment needs, the growth assumptions, the capacity requirements, the domestic reforms and the priority setting, that must be addressed globally and nationally to reach the MDGs." He identified and elaborated on five areas where he said reform is needed within the UN system: programme alignment; simplification and harmonization; ideas and institutions; rationalizing the UN's field presence; and strengthening the Resident Coordinator system.


Links to further information

Press Briefing by UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown, 15 June 2004

Statement by Mark Malloch Brown at Executive Board of UNDP and UNFPA, 14 June 2004


MAY 2004


The UN General Assembly recently adopted a resolution on convening a high-level plenary meeting in New York in 2005 as a follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit.

The GA decided that the major event in 2005 will be responsible for undertaking:

- a review of the progress made in the fulfillment of all commitments contained in the Millennium Declaration, including a review of the progress made in fulfillment of the internationally agreed development goals and the global partnership required for their achievement; and
- a review of progress made in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes and commitments of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

The GA also requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on suggested modalities, format and organization of this major event for consideration by the next session of the GA, which will meet in September 2004.

Click here for country statements made prior to the adoption of the resolution.