Civil society in Asia Pacific steps up efforts to accelerate MDGs achievement

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MEDIA RELEASE

Civil society in Asia Pacific steps up efforts to accelerate MDGs achievement

JAKARTA, INDONESIA, 1 August 2010 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 todays 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.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 Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by 189 world leaders from the north and south, as part of the Millennium Declaration which was signed in 2000. These leaders agreed to achieve the Goals by 2015. Our premise is simple: we are the first generation that can end poverty and we refuse to miss this opportunity. For more information, visit www.endpoverty2015.org.

ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency whose aim is to fight poverty worldwide. Formed in 1972, for over 30 years we have been growing and expanding to where we are today - helping over 13 million of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged people in 50 countries worldwide.HungerFREE is a campaign led by ActionAid in over 30 countries. ActionAid is a member of GCAP and with the campaign objective is to halve hunger, in 2010. The campaign highlights the action on MDG1 as it is one of the most off track targets and reiterates that the achievement of the MDG1 target is absolutely critical to the achievement of all MDGs and to tackling poverty. Hence, it is using its institutional expertise to campaign on MDG1 the goal to halve hunger by 2015 and complementing the efforts of other campaigns. For more information, please access www.actionaid.org.Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) as a global alliance that seeks to challenge the institutions and processes which perpetuate poverty, and consists of national coalitions, international organizations and constituency groups in over 100 countries. GCAP mobilizes millions of people each year to Stand Up and Take Action Against poverty, while also coordinating civil society efforts at the G20, MDG Summit and other intergovernmental processes. GCAP, through its national campaigns and constituency group, seeks to build a just world, free from poverty. GCAP also coordinates alliance members to work on the issues including:

Public accountability, just governance and the fulfillment of Human Rights. Womens rights and gender justice as central issue of poverty eradication. A major increase in the quantity and quality of aid and financing for development. Debt Cancellation Trade Justice Climate Justice Peace and human security by ending gender violence, human rights violations, occupation,militarizationandwar.

For more information and/or exclusive interview arrangement, please contact: Natthinee Rodraksa

Asia Communication Coordinator

UN Millennium Campaign

Regional Office for Asia and the PacificTel: +66 2 288 1485

Mobile phone: +66 80 223 52 53

E-mail: rodraksa@un.orgWilson T.P. Siahaan

MDG Campaign and Advocacy Analyst

UN Millennium Campaign

Mobile phone: +62 811 88 3929

E-mail: Wilson.siahaan@undp.org

Rajiv Joshi

Outreach Coordinator

Global Call to Action Against Poverty

US Mobile: +1-917-545-6101

UK Mobile: +44 779 373 2496

Email: Rajiv@whiteband.orgNguyen Thu Trang

Communications and Campaign Officer

ActionAid International

Mobile phone: +84 0913037187

Email: trang.nguyenthu@actionaid.org

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