The “Millennium Development Goals: Civil Society Takes Action Conference” was attended by many of our members while here for our PPSEAWA-USA Annual Meeting. The discussion focused on how civil society can become more active.
The meeting was sandwiched between a hurricane on September 8th and the Memorial gathering on 9/11. Some New Yorkers coming to the meeting were turned away by flooded streets and subways. In spite of this, 2000 selected delegates gathered to hear the opening addresses by Kofi Annan and other high officials of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). After the opening plenary session and a brief lunch, we met for interactive workshops. I chose “Media Approaches That Work” because I am responsible for public relations for the PPSEAWA National Board. The speakers were from the DPI/NGO Planning Committee, Applied Psychology, world Council for Psychotherapy, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
We were encouraged to extend our publicity effects so more people are aware of the Millennium Goals. (see the following article summarizing these). In the next couple of years, the UN hopes to celebrate its 60th Anniversary. Our work is to more widely circulate the message.
PPSEAWA meets every three years in a host country; we use the UN model for our conference. Our Plenary Session utilizes the talents of senior politicians and scholars as speakers, then we break up into interactive workshops. Drafts are then composed for action plans to be lobbied at the UN. Alternatively, we continue to work on issues needing clarification.
The theme of our last meeting in May 2004 in Singapore was “Working toward a Culture of Peace.” I had the privilege of attending a two day pre-conference for young entrepreneurs. A highlight was a psychometric profile (www.researchcommunication.com) for each attendant which reflected that person’s peak performance in specific areas. Another product of the conference was the Hague..Global Appeal for Peace Education (http://www.ipb.org). As a former Chicago public high school teacher, I feel strongly that education about the UN must be taught at all levels. We need to consider how Civics can be taught to today’s diverse American society. Youth, passionate for action and acceptance are ready for knowledge of exotic people, how they differ from themselves and yet are the same. We must network with them, NOW.
What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)?
At the Millennium summit in September 2000, UN Member States agreed to the following eight goals to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives by 2015:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger: is to halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.
- Achieve universal primary education: ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school.
- Promote gender equality and empower women: eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education for all levels.
- Reduce child mortality: reduce by 2/3 the mortality rate among children under five.
- Improve maternal health: reduce by three-quarters the ratio of women dying in childbirth.
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases: halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.
- Ensure environmental sustainability: halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water.
- Develop a global partnership for development: Targets are to further an open trading and financial system that includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction –nationally and internationally; address the special needs of least developing countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States; deal comprehensively with developing countries debt problems; develop decent and productive work youth; in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries; in cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies – especially information and communications technologies.