19 August 2014

Malala at UN Headquarters

With Malala Yousafzai by his side, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today marked 500 days of action until the deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals, known worldwide as the “MDGs.” “Action now will save lives, build a solid foundation for sustainable development far beyond 2015 and help lay the groundwork for lasting peace and human dignity,” the Secretary-General said at a special event at the UN Headquarters in New York.

He was joined by more than 500 young people, including Ms. Yousafzai, who became an education advocate after being attacked by the Taliban on a school bus.

“The ideas and inspiration of young people have been especially critical in this effort and their role must grow even more,” Mr. Ban said, underscoring the progress made in development and the importance of youth involvement in national plans to accomplish even more.

As part of today’s events, “MDG supporters” are expected to speak out about the need to accelerate progress towards reaching the targets. The UN has said that it expects 500 minutes of MDG support today to mark the 500 days left to achieve the targets.

The eight MDGs, agreed by world leaders at UN summit in 2000, are described as a 15-year roadmap to fight poverty, hunger and disease, protect the environment and expand education, basic health and women’s empowerment.

“Against the predictions of cynics, the MDGs have helped unite, inspire and transform,” Mr. Ban noted. He highlighted that poverty has been cut in half, more girls attend school, and fewer people are dying from malaria, tuberculosis and other deadly diseases.

Several UNAI members, including students from the ASPIRE chapter of of East Stroudsburg High School South, attended the event. The ASPIRE students, led by Michael Healy, later met with the members of the UNAI secretariat to discuss plans for observing the UNAI Day (18 November) at UN Headquarters.