With the 2015 deadline to meet the Millennium Development Goals on the horizon, CEB had decided, at its second regular session of 2012, to include a review of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals at each of its forthcoming sessions through 2015, beginning at its first regular session of 2013, with a view to helping to accelerate progress within countries that experience difficulties achieving one or more of the goals. In its resolution 69/17, the General Assembly welcomed the CEB’s work to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and its active approach in support of country-level efforts in order to achieve tangible results.

These reviews are being carried out at the executive head-level under the leadership of the Secretary-General and the co-chairmanship of the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the President of the World Bank Group. Each review identifies bottlenecks preventing progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and determines concrete steps for United Nations system organizations to help countries achieve substantial results. The review does not duplicate existing Millennium Development Goal tracking and monitoring mechanisms. Rather, it reinforces United Nations system-wide support to the implementation of country-owned action plans for the acceleration of Millennium Development Goals, ensuring a coordinated approach to applying the technical and operational expertise of the entire United Nations system.

In 2014, the third and fourth rounds of the review were completed, examining bottlenecks to MDG implementation in an additional six countries: Colombia, Lao PDR and Yemen on hunger and poverty (Goal 1); Pakistan on education (Goal 2); the Philippines on maternal health (Goal 5); and Benin on water and sanitation (target of Goal 7). Following deliberations among the respective United Nations resident coordinators, World Bank country directors and CEB members on ways to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, CEB members offered specific proposals and endorsed recommendations for action presented by the country-level representatives to scale up support in the countries and promote greater coordination of agency programmes.

By the end of 2014, 14 countries in total had been reviewed by the Board. Broadly, the review has helped country teams to improve collaboration and coherence of UN system activities on the ground; bridge sectoral silos to promote cross-cutting responses and generate synergies; and more effectively support governments and advocate with other partners. The initiative has encouraged additional United Nations system action and commitments and has achieved better alignment with national plans and strategies.