Stand Up for a better world

Stand Up, Take Action, Make noise for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” is the slogan of a three-day mobilization that will gather citizens around the world, including Egypt, at countrywide events. From 17 to 19 September, people will ask their leaders to keep the pledges made during the MDG Review Summit, which will take place at the United Nations in New York on 20 to 22 September, and to achieve the eight Millennium development goals by 2015.

The MDGs are eight targets based on agreements made at United Nations conferences in 1990, and included in the Millennium Declaration, which was signed by 189 world leaders in 2000. They aim to halve extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, support gender equality and female empowerment, and reduce child mortality by 2015. In addition, the campaign promises to reduce maternal mortality rates, combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability.

The tenth anniversary of the declaration and the approach of the target date present an ideal opportunity to take stock of the current situation. As Khawla Mattar, director of the United Nations Information Center in Cairo, explained, while presenting the Stand Up event in Egypt, during the Review Summit in New York world leaders will be called on to present the results that have been reached so far together with the obstacles and gaps, in order to define the best way to achieve the goals in the next five years.

Citizens can constantly monitor their country’s improvements thanks to the MDG monitor website designed by the UN, and they will be able to make their voices and expectations heard by the world leaders during the Stand Up events. People can take action in many different ways (see the website either online or by participating in one of the official events or by organizing a personal stand up event. Sending a clear message to local or national governments in order to attract the leaders’ attention to these important issues before the UN Summit is the common goal of the Stand Up days.

In Egypt, religious leader are giving sermons calling for an end to poverty in more than 50,000 mosques during Friday prayers and on Sunday at masses in churches across the country. On Friday too, Egyptian voices against poverty will be heard at the “Sphinx Stands against Poverty” event. The secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, will read the pledge for the Stand Up campaign at 5 PM in front of the sphinx at the Giza plateau, where a national youth rally will take place. On Friday too, Naseer Shamma, the famous oud musician, will read the same call against poverty at the opening of the International Forum for the Oud at the Cairo Opera House at 8 PM.

According to director of the UN information center in Cairo, “Egypt is one of the countries that have been able to achieve some of these goals. School enrollment has increased and the maternal mortality rate has decreased from 174 per 100, 000 births in 1992 to 55 in 2000, by making essential obstetric care more accessible.” However, the government still has a lot to do in order to fulfill all the MDGs by 2015, especially in the areas of promoting gender parity and investing in the health system.

“Policies implemented by many countries have obviously worked because there have been many improvements in the last 10 years,” Mattar said, “This means that these goals are achievable. But countries cannot work alone; there needs to be cooperation both within the country itself and also between countries.”

Mattar declared himself hopeful that during the Review Summit Egypt will be able to set a national strategy in parallel with the international plan in order to achieve the eight goals within the next five years, “particularly because the UN will play an important role in pushing governments to adopt the right policies.”

Last year more than 173 million people joined the Stand Up campaign around the world, establishing a new Guinness World Record, with a noteworthy response in Egypt. This year again mobilization will take place across the globe, with concerts and parties organized by the United Nations Millennium Campaign, in collaboration with a wide range of partners, including the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP).

Related Articles

Back to top button