Ban urges accelerated progress to meet the Millennium Development Goals

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers the 2013 Freedom Lecture at Leiden University, in the city of Leiden, the Netherlands.

Thanks to combined efforts from governments to the grassroots, important progress has been made in realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

That's what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday in a Freedom Lecture at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

The Secretary-General said the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been halved. Fewer children are losing their lives to malaria and tuberculosis. And more than 2.1 billion people gained access to improved sources of drinking water – a challenge on which the Netherlands and King Willem-Alexander have been global leaders.

But he warned that there is much unfinished business. Nineteen thousand children under age five still die each day, most from preventable diseases. Two and a half billion people still lack access to sanitation. Disparities between different social groups are widening. Environmental sustainability is under severe threat.

Secretary-General Ban said "We must intensify our efforts in two crucial ways.

First, with less than 1,000 days before the deadline to achieve the MDGs, we must accelerate progress.

And second, we must shape a global agenda beyond 2015 with poverty eradication and sustainable development at its core.

He said these twin challenges will be front and centre at the United Nations next month as world leaders gather for the opening of the General Assembly.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

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