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World leaders to gather at historic summit in New York

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)

Media Release

24 September 2015

World leaders to gather at historic summit in New York for adoption of new Sustainable Development Agenda

Over 100 Heads of State and Government are confirmed to attend the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York this week (25-27 September).

The Summit will mark the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that sets out 17 goals to end poverty, address environmental issues and promote equity. These will be known as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and will drive the direction of UNICEF’s work over the next 15 years.

Vivien Maidaborn, UNICEF New Zealand’s Executive Director, is part of the New Zealand Government delegation to the summit, led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully. Prime Minister John Key will also be in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

From New York, Ms Maidaborn said of the occasion, “2015 is a momentous year to celebrate the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals over the last 15 years - and to usher in the Global Goals which will take us through to 2030.

“So much has been achieved in the last two decades – the under-five mortality rate has been halved; we’ve seen huge reductions in household poverty; millions more children have had the chance to go to school; and polio cases have dramatically reduced worldwide. All of this progress has had an immense impact for children and we are proud of the contributions UNICEF has made towards this advancement.

“While progress to date should be celebrated, there is still a long way to go. 16,000 children under five continue to die every day – many from preventable diseases – and 58 million children remain out of school. We need to work even harder to ensure we are reaching each and every child.”

What differentiates the Global Goals is their universal nature – meaning they will have an impact here in New Zealand and in our Pacific neighbourhood.

Countries around the world will need to translate the Global Goals and their associated targets into nationally relevant ones while reporting to the United Nations on their progress every four years over the next 15 years.

For example, Goal 13 on taking action to combat climate change will have specific relevance for children in Pacific countries such as Kiribati that are already feeling the severe impacts of climate change.

Other Goals will help focus attention on the unique needs of children in the Pacific where many still do not have access to clean and safe water and suffer from the negative impacts of gender inequity, and high rates of violence.

Closer to home, Goal 1 to end poverty and Goal 10 to end inequality are relevant in New Zealand as we continue to work with Government to find solutions to escalating rates of child poverty.

UNICEF New Zealand is calling on the NZ Government to work with civil society, the private sector, academic institutions and young people to set national targets, guided by the global level of ambition of the goals, but taking into account our own special circumstances.

Ms Maidaborn added, "Governments can't do this alone - the Global Goals will only be successful if we all work together. We are ready to work alongside policy makers, communities, civil society and the private sector to harness the opportunity presented to us by this exciting framework to improve outcomes for children here in New Zealand and in the Pacific.

"The Millennium Development Goals have proven that goal setting and measuring outcomes can lift millions out of poverty and bring about real change for children. We truly believe that sustainable development starts and ends with safe, healthy and well-educated children," concluded Ms Maidaborn.

- Ends -


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