We have the POWER, at this very hour…

“We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world. Let us meet in September to keep the promise.”

 – UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon

Over the past few days world leaders have met in New York for the United National Millennium Development Goals Summit. This summit has sought to draw international attention to our progress to date in achieving the MDGs, and create a way forward for the next five years, as we race towards the 2015 deadline.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight goals that were agreed upon by a number of developed countries in 2000 as a means of closing the gap between the developed and developing world. The countries agreed to reach these targets by 2015, promising financial support in order to achieve these goals.

We’ve made a lot of progress in many of the MDGs – especially towards achieving Goal 1, yet the recent Summit has pointed out the imbalance in our achievements. Some goals are so off track, such as Goals 4 and 5 relating to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, that the 2015 deadline for achieving our aims is not looking promising.

Over the past three days, countries have had the opportunity to speak at the summit, outlining their own country’s position on the MDGs, and their strategies for achieving them. Kevin Rudd spoke during yesterday’s session, his first gig as our new Foreign Affairs minister and had a lot of interesting things to say.

“A decade ago, we: the nations of the world, assembled here to offer the world’s poor a fairer share in the world’s future. A decade later we gather once again to take stock. To celebrate what has been done. But also honestly to admit where we have failed.”

Amongst admitting our failure in reaching these targets, Mr. Rudd outlined Australian’s intentions over the next five years to assist the other UN Member States to achieve these goals. Particular importance was placed on the 49 least developed countries, and the 15 that are in our region, Australian focusing 0.15% of our GNI aid contribution to these countries, whilst also increasing funding to women and child health, education, climate change and also opening up our markets to enable poorer countries easier trade and commerce opportunities. You can read the entire speech here or view the webcast.

Now that Australia has spoken, I think many people and critics have a tendency to come out and slam the front we put up in the Summit, that we’re not doing enough to achieve the MDGs and that promises are never seen through. Yet now Kevin Rudd has spoken, I challenge you not to be critical of Australia’s intentions but encourage him and the Gillard government to achieve these said intentions. Email Kevin Rudd  and tell him why it’s important to fulfill and keep these promises our country has made.

I’d encourage you to read the various statements made by each country at the Summit, and the addresses made by the Presidents of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. I would particularly suggest you read Ban Ki-Moon’s address. He has such a clear vision of where the world should be in five years time – he even refers to the ‘8 Goals for Africa’ song that I blogged about a couple of months ago, and I’ll leave you with the lyric he quotes.

“We have the power, at this very hour.”  – Now what are YOU going to do about it?

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