The UN Foundation Board of Directors, will meet in Ghana and confer with government and non-profit organisations to learn and share strategies for advancing progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The directors include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner.
The meeting comes at the culmination of a year-long effort by the UN Foundation to raise awareness about the need for innovative partnerships between governments, civil society organisations and the private sector with the UN to address global challenges.
The meeting in Ghana builds on the positive momentum generated during the recent high-level UN Summit in New York that showcased how the world body is achieving progress in Africa and why it must be accelerated around the world.
The visit is scheduled for October 19 to October 23, and is being hosted by Mr Annan, who served as UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006 and led the effort to establish the MDGs in 2000. Mr Annan joined the UN Foundation’s Board in 2008.
“This UN Foundation Board includes some of the world’s most respected leaders in health and development. Being together in Ghana for these meetings will underscore how we can make rapid progress toward ending extreme poverty and tackling global challenges including health and environmental sustainability,” said Mr Annan.
Ted Turner said: “One of the best ways to accelerate progress on all of the MDGs is to improve women’s and children’s health and to reduce the burden of preventable disease by expanding access to immunisation. We look forward to talking with government and civil societies leaders to hear how the UN can support their efforts to prevent disease and save lives.”
The UN Foundation’s schedule of events will include a high-level session on the MDGs with UN officials, Ghanaian government officials, and representatives of Ghanaian civil society organisations at the University of Ghana, Legon, on October 21. Set in 2000 by the UN, the MDGs is tackling the biggest problems facing the world today – these include global poverty, women’s and children’s health, hunger and education.
The Board will also participate in high-level discussions with country-level UN representatives, a dinner meeting with Vice President John Dramani Mahama and a luncheon meeting with the vice chancellors of Ghanaian universities and other senior academic leaders.
The delegation will also travel to Kumasi, where they will tour health centres in the Ashanti Region where preparations are underway for the launch of a nationwide measles immunisation campaign scheduled for early November.
They will also participate in a meeting and cultural program hosted by the Asantehene.
“Ghana was one of the first countries to protect children against measles through a nationwide immunisation campaign and has made remarkable progress in reducing measles deaths,” said Ted Turner.
“This type of leadership and innovative partnership is what will drive a healthier future for this continent. Ghana’s continued commitment to hosting regular immunisation campaigns and follow-up vaccinations has resulted in zero measles deaths in the last eight years. I commend the government and community leaders for their dedicated efforts to reach our goal of reducing measles deaths worldwide.”
The board members will also participate in a discussion on the UN’s efforts to expand access to affordable energy, and meet with a group of entrepreneurs who have received support from the UN Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme to develop innovative energy technologies and products like clean cook stoves.
“Access to clean and affordable modern energy is critical to fostering lasting social and economic development and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation.
“Worldwide about 1.5 billion people don’t have access to electricity, with one billion more people only having access to unreliable electricity networks.”
The UN Foundation is working with the UN, countries like Ghana, civil society, and the private sector to help reach the goal of universal energy access by 2030.
By working together, “we can provide convenient and affordable energy that will empower communities and protect the environment”, says Mr Wirth.
Created in 1998 with Ted Turner’s $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities, the UN Foundation connects people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve global problems. Since 1998, the UN Foundation and partners in the Measles Initiative have supported measles campaigns costing more than $12 million and developed public-private partnerships to support UN projects in Ghana.
These efforts are carried out in close co-operation with the Ghanaian government, UN Agencies and leading Ghanaian business and non-governmental organisations.
UN Foundation Board members joining Turner, Annan and Wirth in Ghana are Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway), Director-General Emeritus, World Health Organisation and Former Prime Minister of Norway, and Andrew Young (USA), Chairman of Good Works International and former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
The members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors represent 11 nationalities.
Other Board members who couldn’t travel to Ghana are Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (Jordan), Chairperson of the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and the Jordan River Foundation; Igor Ivanov (Russia), Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; N.R. Narayana Murthy (India), Chairman of the Board and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited; Hisashi Owada (Japan), President of the International Court of Justice; Emma Rothschild (United Kingdom), Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History, Harvard University and Director, Joint Centre for History and Economics, Harvard University; Nafis Sadik (Pakistan), Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General; Yuan Ming (China), Director, Institute of International Relations at Peking University; and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh), Founder of the Grameen Bank.