On Monday, thousands of people and organizations from across six continents and more than 70 countries – from Colombia to China, Ghana to Georgia – spoke out about the importance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight global goals to alleviate poverty and promote opportunity.
Throughout the day, partners shared solutions and opportunities for MDG progress in a conversation that included over 10,000 contributors and reached more than 43 million people. With under 500 days until the target date for the MDGs, we don’t have a day to waste. Here are five things we heard from the #MDGmomentum conversation that can help get us to the future we want:
1. Empower girls and women to drive progress across the MDGs: As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others said throughout the day, we must empower girls and women because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s critical to boosting progress across the MDGs, from reducing poverty to improving health to promoting environmental sustainability. When girls and women are healthy, educated, and empowered, they lift up their families, communities, and countries.
2. Development must be sustainable: Energy access is essential to poverty eradication and development. At the same time, climate change threatens to roll back the gains we’ve made. It’s clear that to succeed in the fight against poverty, development must be sustainable, and sustainable energy holds an important power to promote economic growth and development while protecting the planet.
3. Peace and development go hand in hand: Numerous participants stressed the link between peace and development. Many conflict-affected areas are behind on meeting the MDGs, and we must do more to promote peace and resiliency in countries in order to promote development and opportunity for all people.
4. Everyone has a role to play: “Partnership” was a key word heard throughout the day. No sector, country, or organization can meet our development goals alone. Through innovate public-private partnerships, governments, businesses, civil society groups, and individuals can bring their respective strengths to the table, making the whole bigger than the sum of its parts.
5. What we do today paves the path for tomorrow: The progress we make through the MDGs will lay the groundwork for the global development agenda that will follow from 2016-2030. Many partners talked about the need to address the “unfinished business” of the MDGs in the next agenda while addressing new issues that were not prominently highlighted.
The key takeaway for me is that people in the world deeply care about the MDGs and their existence has galvanized people and groups around the world to act for a better future. As Graça Machel recently said: “Use the next 500 days to make every day, every action, and every life count.”
You can view the conversation here and join online using hashtag #MDGmomentum.