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At a press conference on 8 March 2012, UN officials highlighted the achievement of the MDG targets on access to water and significantly improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers, and progress made to reduce extreme poverty.

8 March 2012: The UN hosted a press conference to take stock of global progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the recent milestones on poverty and water, and to chart the way forward, focusing on the remaining challenges and actions to be taken to accelerate progress in the run-up to 2015.Participants at the press conference, which was held on 8 March 2012 in New York, US, included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan, and Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser on the MDGs.

In his address to the press, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that major progress has been made in achieving the MDGs. He noted that, according to the preliminary estimates by the World Bank, the global target of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty was achieved in 2010 and the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined in all regions of the world. He also noted that the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recently announced that the world has met the MDG target of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water, but is unlikely to meet the sanitation target. He added that the MDG target of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers has also been achieved. Ban stressed that, despite progress, massive disparity in social development remains between and within regions and countries. He concluded by calling for increased efforts to accelerate MDG progress and noted that hunger remains a global challenge, highlighting the ongoing food crisis in the Sahel region.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan stressed the need to reach those left behind, who are not represented in the aggregate figures because of their sex, age, race, ethnicity, place of residence or disability. She underlined the need to empower women and girls, and to build the resilience of the poor against natural disasters, and economic and food price shocks.

The event was moderated by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. [UN News Release] [UN Secretary-General’s Statement] [UN Webcast, Press conference video]

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