17 May 2005

United Nations to Support African Union/NEPAD Platform on Eve of G-8 Meeting

NEW YORK, 16 May (UNFIP) -- On 4 July at London’s Guildhall, the United Nations will join forces with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) secretariat and the African Business Roundtable, civil society and private sector leaders to deliver a united message to Group of Eight (G-8) governments on the eve of their annual summit in Gleneagles.  The event -- entitled “Bending the Arc -- the Business of Attaining the Millennium Development Goals in Africa” will be held under the United Nations umbrella and is co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) and the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force -- is timed to coincide also with the annual summit of the African Union in Tripoli.  A broadcast link will connect the two events.

The year 2005 is likely to be a watershed for African development.  Under the United Kingdom presidency of the Group of Eight of the richest industrialized nations, Africa, as well as climate change, have been prioritized for fast-track action, with the recent report of the Commission for Africa proposing a road map for change.  Meanwhile, the report of the Millennium Project has recently outlined a practical plan for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and a review of progress toward their achievement will take place among up to 191 heads of State and government at the high-level meeting (or Millennium Summit+5) of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

“It is imperative that all stakeholders mobilize forces for the massive scaling up of innovation and investment that will be required for the achievement of the MDGs”, said Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to the United Nations Secretary-General and Administrator of the UNDP, “and that means not just governments and international organizations but most particularly the private sector and civil society for whom the MDGs will become a primary focus for growth, productivity and good governance.  In the context of Africa, NEPAD is leading the way.”

The Millennium Development Goals emerged at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 as a set of clear targets to be achieved by 2015.  They aim to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education and gender equity, reduce under-five mortality and maternal mortality, reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, improve access to safe drinking water and ensure environmental sustainability.  The eighth Goal aims to develop a global partnership for development, with targets for aid, trade and debt relief, youth employment and provision of affordable drugs.  In many cases, African countries are the farthest behind in meeting the Millennium Goals targets.

Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, CEO of the NEPAD secretariat, said:  “NEPAD will be judged by progress towards the MDGs.  In Africa, the achievement of the MDGs means social and economic development on an unprecedented scale.  NEPAD is committed to joining forces with business, civil society and our development partners to ensure this occurs and that each of us honours our commitments under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.  Bending the Arc provides a forum for engaging all stakeholders to mobilize resources to obtain the MDGs in Africa in partnership with the G-8.”

Participants in London will include, among others, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the United Nations Millennium Project and the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Dr. Bamanga Tukur, Chairman of the NEPAD Business Group; Ambassador Gambari, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa; Dr. William Kalema, member of the Blair Commission for Africa; Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of Celtel; Robert Davies, CEO of the International Business Leaders Forum; Paul Skinner, CEO of Rio Tinto; Barbara Stocking, Director of Oxfam; and Peter Woicke, former Managing Director of the World Bank.

Notes to Editors

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions -- income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion -- while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability.  They are also basic human rights -- the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security.

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development


For further information, please contact:

Thaninga Shope-Linney, General Manager, Communication and Marketing, NEPAD, e-mail:, tel.:  +27 11 313 3776; or Robert Watkinson, Media Relations Adviser e-mail:, tel.:  +44 20 7462 7550.

Erin Trowbridge, e-mail:, tel.: +1 212 906 6821; Denis Gilhooly, e-mail:, tel.:  +1 917 367, 5873; Camilla Schippa, Outreach Officer, UNFIP, e-mail:, tel.: +1 212 963-3441, website:

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