Press Releases

UNIS/INF/287
26 September 2008

Re-issued as received

Major New Commitments to Fight Poverty Announced at UN High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals

VIENNA, 26 September (UN Information Service) - Governments, foundations, businesses and civil society organizations announced significant new commitments to meet the Millennium Development Goals, as part of the High-level Event on the MDGs held today at United Nations Headquarters.

Major commitments - including more than $4.5 billion for education and $3 billion for malaria -were announced by major donor countries and partners. Developing countries also announced commitments to mobilize domestic programmes aimed at achieving the universally agreed anti-poverty goals by the target date of 2015.

The following are highlights of the commitments made, based on information available as of mid-afternoon today. A complete compilation, when available, will be posted on the High-level Event website, www.un.org/millenniumgoals/2008highlevel.

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

  • The European Commission has pledged an additional $730 million (€500 million) to the World Food Programme (WFP) during 2009-2012.
  • The Republic of Korea has committed $100 million over next three years for emergency food relief through the World Food Programme.
  • The United States, through its programme "Investing in agriculture partnerships to combat hunger," has committed $61 million over the coming 5 years to support small-scale African farmers with affordable, reliable and high quality seeds and planting material.
  • The World Food Programme, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation announced the launch of a $76 million Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme to help connect thousands of farmers with reliable markets where they can sell their crops at competitive prices.
  • Companies and partnerships also announced steps to help lift people out of poverty. Yara International announced a $60 million investment to build fertilizer terminals in Mozambique and Tanzania. Ericsson is establishing an Innovation Centre that will concentrate on applications tailored to the needs of 400,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa. The GAVI Alliance is raising $4 billion in the bond market to finance investments in developing countries. Finlay committed to create 10,000 new jobs in Bangladesh by 2011.
  • Pakistan launched a cash transfer programme (Benazir Income Support Programme), with an allocation of $738 000 (Rs.34 billion) for 2008-09 to provide cash assistance of $21/per month (Rs.1000/per month) to 3.4 million low-income households.

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

  • Launch of the "Class of 2015" Partnership to get 24 million children into school by 2010 as a milestone towards universal primary education by 2015 - $4.5 billion in new pledges and commitments, including: $3 billion from the World Bank to support education in 30 countries, $500 million from Saudi Arabia, $500 million from Australia, $255 million from Spain and $80 million from Norway, $92 million from the United Kingdom for the Education Fast-Track Initiative, as part of commitment to give almost $16 billion over ten years for education. Participants include: the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Vatican, EC, World Bank, UNESCO, Arab Fund, Cisco, Intel, Action Aid, Dubai Cares, Khalifa Foundation, Oxfam Novib, Save the children, Education International, GCE, Queen Rania of Jordan, Comic Relief, Anglican Church, Holy See, Jewish Council of Public Affairs, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists.
  • The European Union set out commitments in its "Agenda for Action" to increase support to education by $6.3 billion (€4.3 billion) by 2010.
  • Japan committed to build 1,000 schools in Africa, with approximately 5,500 classrooms.

Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

  • Denmark committed to doubling development assistance to gender equality and women's rights in 2008 to close to $80 million.
  • One hundred commitments towards MDG3 were announced as part of the MDG3 Torch event hosted by Denmark and Liberia, including a $100 million commitment by Goldman Sachs.

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality and Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

  • A commitment was announced to mobilize $2.4 billion in 2009, rising to $7 billion by 2015, to meet the goal of reducing child and maternal deaths by saving 3 million mothers and 7 million newborns by 2015. The partners, including Norway, the United Kingdom, the World Bank, WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also announced the formation of a high-level Task Force on Innovative Financing for Health Systems which would help mobilize the extra resources needed to support stronger health systems and train over one million extra health workers.
  • Norway has pledged $1 billion over ten years to reduce child and maternal mortality. This is in addition to a pledge of $1 billion between 2000 and 2015 for vaccinating children in poor countries.
  • Australia will spend at least $210 million in the next 4 years to improve women's and children's health, with a focus on Asia-Pacific countries where maternal and child mortality remains high.
  • The Netherlands and the United Kingdom committed $155 million (€106 mn) in joint funding for water and sanitation initiatives in developing countries over the next five years.
  • Japan committed to train 100,000 health workers in Africa.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

  • A Global Malaria Action Plan was launched, including more than $3 billion in commitments:
  1. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: $1.62 billion over two years in new grants for malaria submitted to its Board for approval in November, including plans for distribution of 100 million additional bed nets.
  2. World Bank: $1.1 billion to expand the Malaria Booster Program, which supports the rapid scale-up of malaria programmes in Africa.
  3. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: $168.7 million to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative for research on a new generation of malaria vaccines.
  4. United Kingdom: over $70 million (£40 million) pledge to support the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria, which the UK encourages the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to host. Additionally, commitment to an increase in malaria R&D funding to at least $9 million (£5 million) per year by 2010 and to provide 20 million of the 125 million bed nets that are needed to close the global bed net gap.
  5. Marathon Oil / Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria / Equatorial Guinea: $28 million co-investment will lay a solid foundation for a capital campaign orchestrated by GBC, Malaria No More and the UN Foundation to leverage the leadership of the world's most prominent business leaders to raise $100 million by the end of 2010.
  6. UN High Commission for Refugees / United Nations Foundation: $2 million grant to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to meet the urgent need for long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets in temporary refugee camps across Africa. Working together, in 2008-2009, the partnership will distribute these bed nets in eight African countries, including Côte d'Ivoire and the Central African Republic in 2008.
  7. Sesame Workshop / Mattel / Malaria No More: $2 million program to provide Sesame-themed malaria education materials to children and parents along with bed nets in Tanzania and Zambia.
  8. The Organization of the Islamic Conference will commit $200 million from its member states to fight malaria.
  9. Denmark committed to doubling assistance to $196 million (DKK 1 billion) in 2010 with the aim to achieve universal access to treatment by 2010 and halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
  10. Japan pledged an additional $560 million to the Global Funds to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the coming years.

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

  • Norway is providing $35 million for the establishment of the UN REDD programme to combat deforestation in developing countries. Norway has also committed up to $1 billion to the Amazon Fund for reducing deforestation in the Amazon.
  • Bangladesh announced that it has committed $35 million in domestic resources for implementation of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. The United Kingdom agreed to provide $150 million for implementation of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
  • The World Bank (financed by the Governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Switzerland) is to conduct a study for $8 million on the economics of adaptation to climate change.
  • Greece will contribute $4 million (€3 million) a year for next 4 years to support adaptation efforts to climate change by African countries. Engage in similar agreement with the Alliance of Small Island States for $1.4 million (€1 million).
  • Japan established the Cool Earth Partnership, a new financial mechanism on climate change on the scale of $10 billion, cooperating actively with developing countries' efforts to reduce emissions. It will contribute $1.2 billion to the Climate Investment Fund of the World Bank (total commitment by G8 countries is $6 billion).
  • The Republic of Korea launched an East Asia Climate Partnership programme, including funding of $200 million over the next 5 years to support countries in East Asia in making economic growth compatible with climate change.
  • Sweden announced a new funding package for climate change and development allocating over $585 million in additional support to climate-related development assistance over 2009-2011, with a specific focus on Africa.
  • Japan committed to develop water facilities to provide safe drinking water to 6.5 million people.

Goal 8: Global Partnership for Development

  • Spain committed $292 million (€200 million) for the One-UN in the MDG Achievement Fund and $161 million (€110 million) to "Delivering as One", an expanded multi-donor funding window in the MDG Achievement Fund, which will be in operation in 2009. The United Kingdom committed $73 million (£40 million) over 2 years to "Delivering as One".
  • Denmark set aside $3 billion (DKK 15.3 billion) in 2009 for development assistance (equivalent to 0.82 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI)) to support efforts in achieving all MDGs and to combat poverty. Two thirds of bilateral assistance to be directed to Africa. $39 million (DKK 200 million) set aside in 2009 to ensure follow-up to the recommendations of the Commission for Effective Development Cooperation with Africa.
  • Ireland committed to spend 0.54 per cent of its GNI towards achieving the MDGs in 2008 and increase spending to 0.70% of GNI by 2012.
  • Japan committed to provide up to $4 billion ODA loan over five years with special focus on infrastructure and agricultural development.
  • The Republic of Korea's Official Development Assistance (ODA) is expected to reach around $3.3 billion dollars in 2015, representing a six-fold increase from 0.04 per cent in 2000.

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For general media information, contact the UN Department of Public Information:

Martina Donlon
Telephone: (+1-212) 963 6816
Email: donlon@un.org

François Coutu
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Newton Kanhema
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Email: kanhema@un.org

Pragati Pascale
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Email: pascale@un.org

For more information on the Millennium Development Goals, please see: www.un.org/millenniumgoals