The Deputy Prime Minister and I represented the UK at the United Nations millennium development goals summit which took place on 20-22 September 2010. World leaders, civil society organisations and prominent business leaders gathered to agree the action needed to meet the millennium development goals by 2015 and lift millions of people out of poverty.
The UK’s main objective for the summit was to secure renewed momentum in the global fight against poverty and to agree an ambitious approach to reaching the millennium development goals by 2015. It was an opportunity to reinforce the UK’s reputation as a serious and committed world leader on development. The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s commitment to reaching 0.7% of GNI in aid from 2013 and challenged others to live up to their promises.
The UK focused its efforts on securing a major push on the most off-track millennium development goals, particularly women’s and children’s health. UN Secretary-General’s Ban Ki-moon’s Every Woman Every Child event launched a global strategy aimed at saving the lives of more than 16 million women and children. At the event the Deputy Prime Minister set out the UK’s new commitment to save the lives of at least 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth, 250,000 newborn babies and enable 10 million couples to access modern methods of family planning over the next five years.
With the support of UK leadership, the event generated an unprecedented $40 billion in resources for maternal and child health. As important as the financial commitments was the wide range of partners that came behind the strategy. Developing countries were prominent: Afghanistan and Yemen pledged to increase access to family planning and safe births, and Nigeria committed to spend a share of oil revenues on healthcare. Significant new commitments also came from the private sector (Johnson & Johnson committed $200 million over the next five years), charities. NGOs (World Vision International committed $1.5 billion over five years) and international organisations.
The UK also co-hosted a high profile side event on malaria, which challenged leaders from both rich and poor countries to do more to save lives needlessly lost every day to this disease. The event succeeded in generating impressive new support. I announced our commitments to help halve the number of deaths caused by malaria in at least 10 African countries by 2015 by increasing access to malaria prevention, diagnostics and treatment backed by an increase in funding up to £500 million per year by 2014.
I also announced the UK’s support for the scaling up nutrition (SUN) “1,000 days” campaign at a side event co-hosted by Hilary Clinton. This initiative and the nutrition leaders group which will help drive this forward.
UK leadership was also commended for its increased focus on results and mutual accountability. The UK pressed and secured an annual review mechanism as part of the summit’s outcome document. Work is under way to record all of the policy and financial commitments, not just from Governments, made at the summit. There was a clear commitment from the Ban Ki-moon to ensure that all sides will be held accountable.
The summit ended with the formal adoption of the outcome document “Keeping the Promise: United to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals”—a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House of Commons. This important document sets out a path towards meeting the MDGs, giving a lifeline to millions of the world’s poorest people. The UK Government are now focused on ensuring that we and our partners around the world maximise our efforts to reach the millennium development goals in the next five years and live up to our promises to the world’s poorest people.
House of Commons Hansard
12 October 2010