The United Nations invites everybody to Have THEIR say at the United Nations

The United Nations has launched in Madrid, with the support of Telefonica, the “HAVE YOUR SAY AT THE UNITED NATIONS” campaign, inviting everybody to participate in MY World, the UN global survey for a better world  (

 This innovative initiative invites all people to choose six areas of activity, from a total of 16, which, in their opinion, would represent a major improvement in their lives.  More than 1.5 million people in 194 countries have already voted - through the web, street surveys or on mobile devices – providing, for the first time, real-time information on people’s priorities for the future global development agenda, which is currently being discussed at the United Nations.


Up to now, the survey results reveal that the top priorities for voters to improve their lives are a good education, better healthcare, and better job opportunities. This strengthens the validity of the current Millennium Development Goals and places new issues on the global agenda.

Corinne Woods, Global Director of the Millennium Campaign stressed that “The especially striking message that emerges when we analyzed the data of MY World is that people, wherever they live in the world, want the same basic human rights ie health, education and work , and an honest and responsive government.”

“The MY World Survey aims to meet the real needs of citizens in all parts of the world and educate leaders about the leading priorities for developing programs and initiatives,” stated Alberto Andreu, Head of CSR & Reputation at Telefonica.

Globally, the “HAVE YOUR SAY AT THE UNITED NATIONS” campaign kicks off in Spain, in Madrid and Barcelona at the Telefonica Flagship stores, and at the Chamartin and Atocha train stations in Madrid, with the support of ADIF. The MY World podium is also installed in public spaces – to bring the initiative to the people.

After Spain, it will be implemented in the rest of the world with the support of United Nations and its partners.

The campaign has been developed by the UN Millennium Campaign in Spain with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

To vote:

For up-to-date results:

The African Narrative

The UN Millennium Campaign and the UNDP Regional Service Centre in Africa have published Structural Transformation and the Challenge of Financing Africa’s post-2015 Development Agenda. The paper is a powerful synthesis of a 2-day forum of leading African thinkers, parliamentarians, civil society organizations hosted by the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa in order to develop a shared narrative of what the pos-2015 agenda should be about and how such an agenda should be financed, from an African perspective. For the post-2015 agenda to be relevant to Africa, it should  form an integral part of the African structural transformation vision, and Africans must drive such an agenda for Africans. Similar, Africa must plan from the outset how to finance such an agenda, relying substantially on mobilizing and using own domestic resources properly and managing external resources sensibly.

A new form of  global partnerships is necessary, one that is rooted in fairness and justice and basic respect and trust in Africa’s ability to put its own house in order.

Download full report

“Global Financial Crisis Forgotten Too Soon”

Read UN Millennium Campaign African Director, Charles Abugre, weekly column on international economic and development matters at Business Daily Africa.


THE ARRIVAL of 2014 marks the sixth year since Lehman Brothers Investment Bank of the United States was declared bankrupt – marking the beginning of what became the global financial meltdown.

Lehman brothers was the first high profile victim of the burst in the housing bubble – the packaging of housing loans (many of dubious quality – sub-prime) into securities that were traded and kept outside the balance sheets of banks in order for bankers to earn their bonuses.

This party of housing bubble allowed the likes of Barclays Bank’s Investment arm, Morgan Stanley and the Bank of America to thrive making their gamblers wealthier.

More than 1000 millionaires were created in the City of London alone – the one square smile financial centre of gleaming skyscrapers in the metropolis – and luxury yachts were going like toys.

But when the bubble burst, poor tax payers were called upon to the rescue the sinking ships, literally at the cost of many lives.

If you are dealing in high-end real estate in the wealthy areas of Nairobi, or Luanda, Accra or Lagos today, 2008 might seem like a distant dream or in some ways, even a blessing.

The opposite is true for the working or lower middle class person living in Spain, Cyprus, Greece or Italy for who the nightmare cannot end soon enough.

Millions remain unemployed, homes have been repossessed and streets are regularly occupied by angry and hungry protesters left to pay for debts owed to mainly German and British banks and Russian Oligarchs.

When the financial crisis hit – and it did so following hikes in energy and food prices – the predictions about the cost to the global economy were dire – and a lot came true.

As banks began to crumble, scores of homes repossessed, unemployment exploded and panic set in, partly because of fear that the banking system was concealing more debt and junk bonds than they were willing to reveal, governments stepped in, and put in place the most unprecedented policies since the re-emergence of neoliberalism.

Banks and their liabilities were nationalised, the banking system around the world was flooded with paper money printed by Central banks of the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU and Japan (the Advanced Economies -AEs) in particular.

The UK pumped into their banking sector the equivalent of 90 per cent of their GDP, the US, 35 per cent of GDP and Germany, 25 per cent of GDP – all amounting to trillions of US dollars equivalent.

These were accompanied by drastic reduction of interest rates, a measure that both sought to stimulate new borrowing as well as gain export competitiveness.

The impact of the crisis and the measures put in place by the AEs to combat it had both immediate and enduring impacts on developing countries in general and Africa in particular.

One such impact was a sharp decline in economic growth in 2008/9 – largely due to a fall in primary commodity prices and capital outflows from countries with significant exposure to international banks.

The ILO estimated that the crisis put an additional three million people out of work and 28 million people into insecure work.

African Finance ministers claimed that the “crisis was sweeping away firms, mines, jobs, revenues and livelihoods” and threatening efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) went one step further, forecasting civil chaos, and state fracture.

State fracture, of the type forecast by the EIU did indeed occur as regimes collapsed one after the other in North Africa from 2010 but for reasons that can at best be attributable to what Robert Wade of the United States calls “deep causes” – the structural character of the global economy shaped by neoliberalism and extreme greed that gave birth to financialisation, growing inequalities and political discontent.

Many of the impacts endure to date. Although economic growth rebounded quicker than the IMF projected, risks and fragilities associated with the crisis may have deepened in some respects.

Commodity prices flattened in 2013 and may remain so in 2014 due to the slowdown in economic growth in China and other emerging economies and continued crisis in the Eurozone.

Africa’s growth in 2014 is projected to be robust but below the pre-crisis peak. Although capital inflows rebounded in 2010 and increased significantly in 2012 due in particular to the easy money policies of the AEs, these are slowing down as less money is pumped in by central banks.

Moreover, capital inflows to Africa have been largely speculative and short-term looking for quick profits in the emerging equity markets, luxury real estate, mega city projects and natural resources extraction – all of which do little to create sustainable employment or narrow the current account deficits plaguing countries like Kenya, whilst contributing to building financial bubbles and widening inequalities.

Whereas larger developing countries are taking steps to manage these inflows by imposing market-based capital controls, countries like Kenya are dismantling any form of controls and threatening to liberalise capital movements even further.

As 2014 opens, the signs are that capital flows will become more volatile and more costly as the US roles back the pumping of money into the banking sector and money becomes less cheap.

With the global economy projected to grow only modestly, the Eurozone even more so and G20 countries slowing down, commodity prices will come under pressure.

Indebtedness will worsen in many African countries putting pressure on exchange rates. This picture contrasts with the euphoric expectation of our political leaders that foreign capital will flow in droves to “transform Africa’s economy” into an upper middle income one.

Editor’s note: Charles Abugre is Director for Africa of the United Nations Millennium Campaign. This text belongs to a series of weekly columns on international economic and development matters author created to be published at Business Daily Africa. . The views expressed are the writer’s own.

UN Millennium Campaign tasks African Film Practitioners on human development

Lagos, Nigeria.-The United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) has called on African film practitioners to use their medium to promote good governance and human development on the continent.

In a goodwill message delivered at the annual Nigerian Integrity Film Awards (HOMEVIDA) in Lagos, Nigeria, the Regional Director (Africa) of the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), Mr Charles Abugre Akelyira, stated that the growth of the film industry in Nigeria and across Africa has been phenomenal and ought to become a veritable tool for the promotion of Pan-African values, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and socio-economic development of Africa.

Mr. Akelyira who was represented at the occasion by UNMC National Coordinator, Mr Hilary Ogbonna, emphasised that Africa is at a critical stage in achieving the MDGs with some of the goals still lagging behind, underscoring the need for strategic partnerships, communications and advocacy using multiple platforms including films. Mr Akelyira charged African film makers in the development of contents and values in films which will serve as advocacy tools to policy makers and other stakeholders to take actions necessary for the attainment of human development on the continent. In his words: “As we countdown to the deadline for achieving the MDGs and with the work on a post 2015 agenda in an advanced stage, Africa needs more initiatives like HOMEVIDA which will project African aspirations, messages and expectations from this once in a long time development process.”

He commended HOMEVIDA as an “excellent initiative which if supported can serve as a veritable tool to mobilise Africans and their leaders to pay attention to current and emerging development challenges on the continent.” He further stated that Africa “needs greater commitments such as the ones shown by PPDC from both State and non-state actors on the continent and in the diaspora.”

The UNMC Regional Director promised that the organisation and its partners in Africa and beyond are committed to supporting the use of “the medium of films to project best development practices and values of good governance, peace, human security and other enablers of development.” He stressed that “films, more than any other art have the capacity to promote values and mobilise people of different faiths, tribes and tongues for common goals and objectives.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the founder of HOMEVIDA Awards, Mr Chibuzo Ekwekwuo commended the United Nations Millennium Campaign for supporting the awards and making available the goodwill of the UN across Africa to support film makers in producing movies that will enhance human development and contribute to the acceleration of the MDGs. HOMEVIDA, an initiative of the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) is in its fourth year. Since inception, it has become a rallying point for film practitioners and the entertainment industry in Nigeria interested in promoting good and accountable governance through their works.

It will be recalled that in April this year, UNMC signed a cooperative agreement with PPDC and endowed prizes for the best script and feature films that projects the themes of human development and the MDGs. For the 2013 maiden awards in the human development and MDGs category, Mr. Ebuka Njoku won the prize for the best script with ‘Bola’s Dirge’, while the best feature film in the same category was clinched by ‘Victims of the Society’ produced by Elvis Chuks.

The success of this initiative has spurred UNMC, PPDC and other partners to initiate a Pan-African Film project which will be bringing film makers, government institutions, private sector, civil society and development partners together to promote African values, project African voices and messages to the rest of the world to advance human development on the continent.

IDEP 2013: UN Secretary-General urges for greater support for people struggling to escape poverty and build better lives

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. UN Secretary-General’s Message for 2013.

This year’s observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty comes as the international community is pursuing twin objectives:  intensifying efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and formulating the next set of goals to guide our efforts after we reach the MDG target date of 2015.  This post-2015 agenda must have poverty eradication as its highest priority and sustainable development at its core.  After all, the only way to make poverty eradication irreversible is by putting the world on a sustainable development path.

We have much work ahead.  While poverty levels have declined significantly, progress has been uneven.  Our impressive achievement in cutting poverty by half should not blind us to the fact that more than 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty worldwide. Too many, especially women and girls, continue to be denied access to adequate health care and sanitation, quality education and decent housing.  Too many young people lack jobs and the skills that respond to market demands.  Rising inequality in many countries — both rich and poor — is fueling exclusion from economic, social and political spheres, and we know that the impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity hit the poorest the hardest.  All of this underpins the need for strong and responsive institutions.

We need to do more to listen and act for those whose voices often go unheard – people living in poverty, and in particular among them indigenous people, the older persons and those living with disabilities, the unemployed, migrants and minorities.  We need to support them in their struggle to escape poverty and build better lives for themselves and their families.

If we are to realize the future we want for all, we must hear and heed the calls of the marginalized.  For the last year, the UN has been doing just that by spearheading an unprecedented global conversation on the world people want.  That dialogue must continue – and lead to the active and meaningful inclusion of people living in poverty — as we chart a course to ending poverty everywhere.

Together, we can build a sustainable world of prosperity and peace, justice and equity – a life of dignity for all.


Agenda: UN Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) has been observed at UN Headquarters since 1993 and around the world since 1987. This year’s commemoration on 17 October will be an occasion to recognize people living in poverty as critical partners for tackling the development challenges we face. The Day’s theme for 2013 is “Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty”.

There will be two key events to commemorate the Day at the UN, and both are open to accredited media.

Official UN Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Thursday, 17 October, 1:15-2:30pm in Conference Room 2 (Conference Building)

Webcast live on UN Web TV

Speakers include: Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; H.E. Mr. Der Kogda, Permanent Representative ofBurkina Fasoto the UN; H.E. Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative ofFranceto the UN; a representative of ATD Fourth World and a representative of the Constituent Advisory Group at the Center for Social Policy at theUniversityofMassachusetts. There will also be video presentations, a collective art piece and a musical performance by Hip-Hop Saves Lives.

For more information, visit:

The World We Want – People’s Voices Series: “MDGs, Poverty and the Post-2015 Agenda”  Thursday, 17 October, 10:00 -11:30am at UNICEF House, Danny Kaye Centre

Streamed live on the World We Want website.

The World We Want 2015 platform will host a panel discussion for its People’s Voices Series, centering on the Day’s theme, the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.  Panelists include: Marta Benavides, co-chair, Global Call to Action Against Poverty; Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, UN Millennium Campaign; Maryanne Broxton, Constituent Advisor, ATD Fourth World; plus a representative from the Participate Initiative. Keynote Listener: Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning. Moderator: John Hendra, Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women.

MY World 2015: Interactive multimedia exhibition opens during the UN General Assembly in New York

Over 1 million people have answered MY World, the United Nations global survey to citizens- voting for education, health, honest and responsive government and jobs as basis for a better future. These results are now being presented in New York through an innovative and interactive new exhibit called “Listening to ONE MILLION Voices.”

October 2013, New York. The voices of the over 1,160,000 people who have voted in MY World in 194 countries have reached the United Nations through an innovative interactive exhibition called “Listening to One Million Voices”. Open to the public at Danny Kaye Exhibition Center at UNICEF headquarters in New York until November 28th, this exhibit brings to life the wealth of data collected from the survey all over the world and explains the results of this ground-breaking project through which the United Nations invites citizens to take part in the process defining the next development agenda.

Through three interactive giant screens visitors can explore global and regional and compare results among countries, age or gender groups to get a clear outline of what global citizens would like the next global agenda to include.

MY World has also generated an unprecedented mobilization and unleash of creativity around the world. This exhibition also aims to showcase the contributions by over 700 MY World Partners in 194 countries. From the remote villages in Nigeria to universities in Thailand, MY World options survey has become a platform for people to speak for their hopes and dreams.

This exhibition also invites all visitors to have their say and tell what issues are important to you as we debate the future post-2015 development agenda. Until 2015, MY World will continue to invite citizens to have their say at the United so that their opinions can be heard during the process which will design the post-2015 agenda that will build on the MDGs.

We invite you to visit the exhibition:

“Listening to One Million Voices” exhibition
Danny Kaye Exhibition Center
UNICEF, 3 UN Plaza, 44th St. (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) New York
From September 30 until November 28 2013
Weekdays from 9.00am to 6.00pm
Admissions Free

MY World 2015: Over one million people speak at the United Nations

  •  Over 1 million people have answered MY World, the United Nations global survey to citizens- voting for education, health, honest and responsive government and jobs as basis for a better future.
  • The results from MY World are being presented through a report and an innovative and interactive new exhibit called “Listening to ONE MILLION Voices.”
  • This turning point has been the perfect backdrop for MY World Partner Recognition Event and Award Ceremony held during in New York the week of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

September 2013, New York.   The voices of the over 1,160,000 people who have voted in MY World in 194 countries have reached the United Nations through an innovative interactive exhibition called “Listening to One Million Voices”. Open to the public at Danny Kaye Exhibition Center at UNICEF headquarters in New York until November 28th, this exhibit brings to life the wealth of data collected from the survey all over the world and explains the results of this ground-breaking project through which the United Nations invites citizens to take part in the process defining the next development agenda.

MY World results offer a clear outline of what global citizens would like the next global agenda to include. The existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) continue to be important as people’s priorities are ensuring access to education, healthcare, water and sanitation.  However, survey results point to new issues which will need to be included in the future development agenda, the most important of these are better job opportunities and an honest and responsive government.

For the last year, the UN has been encouraging an unprecedented ‘global conversation’ on the world that people want,” said Ban Ki-moon on the launch of the report “A Million Voices: The World We Want” that analyzed the results gathered on several consultation process including MY World.These million voices tell us that we have a big and urgent job ahead: to agree on a new development agenda that carries the same simplicity and strength as the MDG framework – an agenda that serves both people and the planet. A new era demands a new vision. As we continue to support the negotiations, the UN system will continue to bring the voices of the people to the table,” he added.

How MY World has reached over 1 million votes so far?

The “Listening to One Million Voices” exhibition also aims to showcase the unprecedented mobilization and creativity that this project has generated around the world by showing the work done by over 700 partners in 194 countries.


“This extraordinary scope not have been possible without the work of over 700 organizations across the world who have worked with us to ensure MY World could reach everyone, including those who are not usually consulted.” underlined Corinne Woods, Global Director of the UN Millennium Campaign “and there are extraordinary examples of this-  such as the  774  members of the Nigerian Youth Corp who reached 145,000 people in each of Nigeria’s 77 states, the  United Nations Volunteers who took  the survey to women at maternal health centers in Haiti  and the many volunteers taking MY World to the waste pickers in the slums of Dharavi, India”.

On 25 September 2013, in the framework of the UN General Assembly in New York and the opening of the “Listening to One Million Voices” exhibit, the UN Millennium Campaign organized the MY World Partner recognition event and Award Ceremony as a way to further recognize their work. The MY World Awards were granted to a selection of  partners who have stood out for their performance in the promotion of the MY World survey at the national or international level through any of the MY World available implementation channels: online, offline and through mobile technology.

Check here the partners who received awards

Ms. Zoleka Mandela, founder of Make Roads Safe Campaign, one of MY Word´s partners, acted as master of ceremonies “This campaign is about the world that I want all our children to inherit. My world, our world, is one where we face up to the preventable crises; and those that we can solve with great collective effort” she said in her opening remarks.

Amina J Mohammed, Special Adviser to the Secretary General  on Post-2015 Development Planning, Corinne Woods, Global Director UN Millennium Campaign,  Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, and  Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary General’s Envoy on youth, Mohammed Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize and MDG Advocate, Paul Polman, CEO Unilever,  were some of the High-level United Nations officials and eminent people that  attended this event.

Check out the Photo gallery of the event


What are people saying?

The 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York also provided the ideal framework to share these results with global leaders. “Listening to ONE MILLION Voices” is also the title of the report that analyzes the results from these first million votes.

Claire Melamed, Head of Growth, Poverty and Inequality at the Overseas Development Institute, and one of the authors of this report said “What’s remarkable is the level of agreement from people across the world about what they feel is most important. The data shows that regardless of income, geography or gender people consistently place education, health, jobs and an honest government at the top of their list of priorities.”

Over 80% of participants in MY World are from developing countries, half of participants completed the survey using the ballot ‘pen and paper’ method, and over one third have low education levels and are likely to be living in poverty.

My World ushers in a new way of involving citizens in global decision making by introducing crowd sourcing in policy-making. Paul Ladd, Senior Advisor and Head on Post-2015, UN Development Programme  underlines “MY World is supporting multilateralism in a new way –providing lots of information on the priorities of people all around the world, and helping governments come up with a new development agenda that responds to their needs”.

Until 2015, MY World will continue to invite citizens to have their say at the United so that their opinions can be heard during the process which will design the post-2015 agenda that will build on the MDGs.

Click here to access full report  


To visit the exhibition: 

“Listening to One Million Voices” exhibition
Danny Kaye Exhibition Center
UNICEF, 3 UN Plaza, 44th St. (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) New York

From September 30 until November 28 2013
Weekdays from 9.00am to 6.00pm
Admissions Free

UN Millennium Campaign 2012 Annual Report

We are pleased to share with you the United Nations Millennium Campaign’s 2012 annual report, highlighting our main accomplishments. 2012 was a crucial year in which the focus of our work remained to sustain momentum for the MDGs, while at the same time supporting citizen and civil society participation in the post-2015 development agenda.

We remain convinced that if promises are kept and commitments are delivered on, we can reach the MDG by 2015. Therefore the UN Millennium Campaign will continue its work to ensure that citizens contribute decisively to the achievement of the MDGs and that their voice is heard in the debate on the future post-2015 development agenda.

We thank our donors and partners across the world for their continued support.


World leaders renew commitment to anti-poverty targets, agree to adopt new development Goals at 2015 Summit

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, 25 September 2013 – World leaders agreed today to scale up action against extreme poverty, hunger and disease and called for a 2015 Summit to adopt the next set of Goals to focus continued efforts after the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In the outcome document adopted at a Special Event on the MDGs, hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly, countries lauded the remarkable progress made so far towards achieving the eight Goals, which have provided a “common vision” for meeting the needs of the world’s poorest.

Member States also expressed concern at the unevenness and gaps in MDG achievement in the face of immense challenges, and agreed to take the purposeful and coordinated action required to accelerate progress.

Speaking at the opening of the event, President of the General Assembly John Ashe said that “we must do everything possible to accelerate action and get the job done by 2015. Urgently implementing the global partnership for development is not only a moral obligation but will also put us at the best possible starting point for agreeing what comes next.”

In the document, countries agreed to hold a high-levelSummitin September 2015 to adopt a new set of Goals that will balance the three elements of sustainable development – providing economic transformation and opportunity to lift people out of poverty, advancing social justice and protecting the environment.

The Goals – which will build on the foundation laid by the MDGs and also respond to new challenges – will be applicable to all countries while taking into account national circumstances.

The deliberations of Governments took into account the views expressed by people across the globe through a series of worldwide consultations that reached more than a million citizens, in an effort unprecedented for the UN.

At today’s event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented to countries his report “A Life of Dignity for All”, outlining his vision for bold action to achieve the MDGs and for a new and responsive sustainable development framework that meets the needs of both people and planet.

The Secretary-General said that the post-2015 framework “must be bold in ambition yet simple in design, supported by a new partnership for development”.

“It needs to be rights-based, with particular emphasis on women, young people and marginalized groups. And it must protect the planet’s resources, emphasize sustainable consumption and production and support action to address climate change, “ he continued.

The Special Event comes as the UN, Governments, civil society, the private sector and philanthropists push to achieve more MDG targets in the final stretch to 2015.

A high-level event, MDG Success: Accelerating Action and Partnering for Impact, hosted by the Secretary-General on 23 September, showcased the power of new types of partnerships to change the development landscape and mobilize finance, expertise and knowledge to further the MDGs.

“Substantial additional commitments from Governments, the World Bank, private business and philanthropy brought the total new investment in boosting MDG achievement to $2.5 billion,” the Secretary-General told Member States today.

The MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education – have been the most effective anti-poverty push in history. The lives of millions of people have been improved and targets have already been met on reducing poverty, increasing access to safe water, improving the lives of slum dwellers and achieving gender parity in primary education.

Despite huge gains, progress towards the eight MDGs has been uneven, not only among regions and countries, but also between population groups within countries, with accelerated action needed in many areas.