MDG Mania


It’s going to be a big week in New York City.  With five years left in its charter, the General Assembly of the UN will meet at The Summit on the Millennium Development Goals on September 20-22 to discuss and identify opportunities to accelerate progress of these ambitious, yet critical obligations for our global human welfare.  Across town the Clinton Global Initiative, established just five years ago, will also be holding a conference with its members on the progress they’ve made toward their annual commitments, many of which support the efforts of the MDG’s.  Climate Week kicks off as well – a regrouping of those involved with the disappointing talks in Copenhagen last December. And sprinkled throughout the city, NGO’s will be conducting their own meetings and work sessions to bring business leaders, non-profits and ordinary citizens together to address the critical challenges and requirements necessary at every level of society if we are to meet the goals set to be achieved by 2015.

There is equal criticism and praise for the eight far-reaching humanitarian goals framed as the MDG’s and dumped on organizations like the United Nations which sponsored their creation. Regardless of your stance on the progress, what is certain is that they have inspired new industries, new financial channels and most importantly, the active innovative thinking necessary for a change in practice and policy to occur in order to save the millions of lives the goals so ambitiously prescribe.

CGI’s roster of Action Areas for 2010 are particularly interesting and include Empowering Girls and Women, Strengthening Market-Based Solutions, Enhancing Access to Modern Technology and Harnessing Human Potential.  As you would imagine, the panelists leading these talks are equally fascinating and include politicians, scholars, business leaders, activists, athletes and celebrities engaged in discussing how to take concrete action towards measurable commitments.

If you’re a news junkie with an eye on our global future, here are just a few of the key talks to watch for news from this week:

  • At CGI, Katie Couric’s panel discussion on Empowering Girls with Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent.  Participants will discuss ways to help women tap their capacity as a global growth engine.
  • Also at CGI, Valerie Jarrett joins NYTimes columnist and business panelists in a discussion about using market forces to drive a more sustainable global economy.
  • The official launch of Connect to Learn, a new global education initiative especially directed at girls.  Jeffrey Sachs, Madonna – Connect to Learn’s Global spokesperson – and Yousso NDour will participate.
  • The Social Good Summit, presented by Mashable and 92Y in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation kicks off the week with a public event that showcases speakers discussing social media’s role in address the world’s challenges.  Susan Smith Ellis (RED)’s CEO opens this event.
  • Co-chair Melinda French Gates will headline a roster of speakers on Monday’s TEDxChange including Graca Machel, international women’s and children’s right advocate and Mechai Veravaidya, Thai helath and rural development champion.   The topics will reflect on both accomplishments from the MDG’s in the last decade and also address issues future forward issues for global health and welfare.
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