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September 21, 2010

UN Millennium Development Goals summit kicks off with events on education and child survival

By Tim Ledwith

The United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals – the MDGs – kicked off today in New York with side events highlighting the goals on education and child survival. Discussions echoed the key conclusion of UNICEF’s recent ‘Progress for Children’ report: that an equity-based approach, targeting the poorest of the poor, offers the best hope of achieving the MDGs by their 2015 target date. The panel was organized by the Global Campaign for Education, which has just released a report warning that poor countries are on the brink of an education crisis, with growth in access to education stalling.

In fact, chronic under-investment in education – despite promises from the international community – means that 69 million children are still out of school, according to the Global Campaign report.

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan , UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for Children, emphasized the far-reaching impact of access to schooling. “Education doesn’t just beat poverty. It beats disease. It beats inequality,” she said. “And for girls, education is nothing less than a life-saver from stigmatization, insecurity and violence. It’s the issue that cuts across all others….  It’s the issue of our generation.”

The education side event was followed this afternoon by a panel on immunization against deadly childhood diseases. Expanding routine immunization of children under five will be critically important to the achievement of MDG 4, which aims to reduce child mortality by two-thirds compared to its 1990 level. The summit comes 10 years after 189 world leaders signed the UN Millennium Declaration, committing themselves to meet targets on extreme poverty, education, gender equality, child survival, maternal health, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, environmental sustainability and global partnerships for development.

Chris Niles and Anja Baron contributed to this story.

September 17, 2010

Intact forests and other natural ecosystems reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change impacts like floods and droughts

September 16, 2010

Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.