In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This declaration committed participating nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and set out a series of time- bound targets - with a deadline of 2015 - that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals are as follow: Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Achieving Universal Primary Education, Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women, Reducing Child Mortality, Improving Maternal Health, Combatting HIV/Aids, Malaria and Other Diseases, Ensuring Environmental Sustainability, and Global Partnership for Development.1
MDGs developed numerical criteria for each target and set the goal to reach these targets by the year 2015. For example, halving the proportion of people with an income of less than $1 a day between 1990 and 2015, reducing by two-thirds the number of child deaths under the age of 5; between 1990 and 2015, reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters; and, halving by 2015 the rate of population deprived of clean drinking water and basic hygiene needs. All of these target goals are illustrative of MDGs’ concrete quantitative criteria.2 While we are reaching the deadline of MDGs, the realization of the goals, their applicability and ways of implementation after 2015, and the steps to be taken in the coming period for their further implementation were discussed in recent years and will continue to be debated. More importantly, new goals are set by the leadership of the Secretary General of the United Nations, under the title of post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon, in the 2013 MDG Report, states that “the Millennium Development Goals have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.” And yet, “the achievement of the MDGs has been uneven among and within countries.”3 As this statement indicated that global community needs to work further on the realization of the MDGs at the same time as it sets new targets for the future.
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in July 2012 revealed the importance and benefit of sustainable development targets as defined in 1992 UN Summit of the Environment and Development. The global community agreed that the new agenda of the post 2015 should be defined as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since then numerous meetings have been, many reports have been published and finally specific goals and targets have been proposed since the 2012 Sustainable Development Summit.4
As the deadline for achieving the MDGs approaches, relevant UN agencies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders have been working on the post-2015 development agenda. This process will continue until the 69th (UNGA) in September 2014. The Journalists and Writers Foundation of Turkey, which holds a General Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council, hopes to contribute to this process by organizing a summit which will provide opportunities for NGOs worldwide to express their views, particularly calling attention to women’s perspectives on the proposed SDGs.