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Press release on the high level meeting of the Millennium Development Goals at UN

New York
September 25, 2008

Prime Minister attended the inaugural plenary of the High-level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting was specially convened by the Secretary–General of the United Nations, Ban ki-moon, at the mid-point of the identified target date of the year 2015, by which all stakeholders are expected to meet the MDGs, Prime Minister’s presence at the inaugural plenary of the MDGs was a sign of India’s commitment to the achievement of MDGs. This was also in keeping with the high-level presence of a number of other Heads of State and Government.

The plenary event was inaugurated by the President of the UN General Assembly. Other speakers included UN Secretary –General Ban, president Kikwete of Tanzania the Amir of Qatar; Prime Minister Brown of the United Kingdom; Premier Wen Jiabao of China; and President Barrosa of the European Community. Special invitees of the UN Secretary- General included Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Elabehn Bhatt of India, who is the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association(SEWA).

The MDGs are a set of eight targeted objectives, established by Heads of State/ Government in the year 2000 at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations. These include the achievement of universal education; gender equality; improved child and maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, environment sustainability; an end to poverty and hunger; and the creation of a global partnership.

Following the inaugural plenary, discussions in the High Level Event continue in three separate thematic roundtables, the themes of which collectively include the eight MDGs. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is representing India at the round- table on ”Poverty an Hunger”. Separately, the Chief Minister of Delhi Smt. Sheila Dixit, is also participating in the MDG event as a special invitee. She will be making a presentation on the theme of environmental sustainability.

At the end of the inaugural plenary session, Prime Minister Singh had brief “pull-aside” meetings with Prime Minister Jan-Pieter Balkenende of the Netherlands, and Prime Minister Bruce Golding of Jamaica.