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MDG Summit on 20-22 September 2010 in New York

United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG Summit) (20-22 September 2010, New York)

This briefing paper is intended to provide information and background on the upcoming United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals – or MDG summit - which will take place from 20-22 September at UN Headquarters in New York. For information on the format of the Summit, click here

What is the MDG Summit in September?

Following on a proposal by the UN Secretary-General, the General Assembly has decided to convene an MDG summit (High-level Plenary Meeting) on 20-22 September, with the primary objective to accelerate progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, taking into account the progress made towards the internationally agreed development goals (A/RES/64/184). The summit is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, “leading to concrete strategies for action”. The President of the General Assembly has appointed two ‘Co-facilitators’ to lead the inter-governmental negotiating process. They will likely wait until after the UN Secretary-General releases his report on the MDGs in March to begin. The Co-facilitators are the Ambassadors of Senegal and Denmark to the United Nations in New York.

In addition to the official preparatory process, a number of related events and reports will feed into government deliberations leading to the September summit.

Of particular relevance to civil society organisations are the Hearings of the General Assembly – a part of the official process - that will be convened from 14-15 June 2010 in New York. The details of this meeting are still being finalized, but they likely will be similar to the Hearings that were convened in 2005 in conjunction with the 2005 World Summit.

For a full calendar of events, click here

Why is the summit being convened?

The MDGs incorporate key goals and targets of the broader development agenda, agreed upon by world leaders and other stakeholders at different UN Summits and Conferences. Thus, the MDGs are not about extreme poverty only, but also include goals and targets for education, maternal health, child mortality, public health, environmental sustainability and biodiversity. By linking the MDGs to the internationally agreed development agenda (IADA), world leaders and development partners have recognized the synergies among various development goals and targets, and the need for an integrated approach for achieving them.

Ten years on from the original adoption of the MDGs at the 2000 Millennium Summit, and despite remarkable progress in some countries, collectively we are falling short in their achievement. The consequence of these shortfalls, further aggravated by the combined effects of the global food, climate, energy and economic crises, is that improvements in the lives of the poorest are happening at an unacceptably slow pace and in some countries, hard fought gains are being eroded. At the current pace, several of the eight MDGs and associated targets are likely to be missed in many countries. The challenges are most severe in the least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) and some small island developing states (SIDS).

If the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, not only must the level of financial investment be increased but innovative programmes and policies aimed at overall development and economic and social transformation must be rapidly scaled up and replicated. The MDGs are achievable, but there is clearly an urgent to address challenges, acknowledge failures and come together to overcome the obstacles to their achievement. This will require the embrace of pioneering ideas and political will on the part of governments and their development partners.

How can I contribute to the review process?

In addition to engaging your own government at the national and local levels, there will be a number of ways to input at the international level. Of particular note are the aforementioned ‘Hearings of the General Assembly with Civil Society’ that governments have called for and that will take place from 14-15 June 2010 in New York.

A primary goal of this website is to improve the linkages between the international review process and civil society organizations around the globe. Through this site, you will gain access not only to valuable information and updates about the process as it develops, but space will be created for you to have input into that process as well.

The simple fact is that 189 world leaders made an historic promise at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 when they signed onto the Millennium Declaration and agreed to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. It’s up to citizens to make sure leaders follow through on these commitments.

One way to get involved – either individually or through your organization is through the "United Nations Millennium Campaign" ( The Millennium Campaign supports people from around the world to take action in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Get involved at


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