The Millennium Development Goals galvanized an unprecedented global effort to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. Yet, despite substantial gains, many countries are struggling to meet one or more of the goals by the target date of 2015. With the Millennium Development Goal deadline rapidly approaching, CEB 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. Bringing together the leaders of the United Nations system under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General, CEB has the ability to align the strengths, capacities and expertise of the member organizations to enhance coherence and to ensure that the United Nations system delivers as one on this critical agenda at the global, regional and country levels. To achieve the acceleration of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, CEB committed to taking a bold problem-solving approach to urgently and cohesively support country efforts to achieve tangible results. As noted, in its resolution 68/20 the General Assembly endorsed the conclusions and recommendations in the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (A/68/16), inter alia on the report of CEB and welcomed the CEB periodic review of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals at the country level, as well as the Board’s support to Member States (see resolution 68/20, para. 5, and A/68/16, para. 224).

The review is being conducted at the principal 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. It 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 the technical and operational expertise of the United Nations system.

In 2013, the first two rounds of review were completed. In total, three Millennium Development Goals in eight countries were considered by CEB: the Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania and Burkina Faso, on hunger and poverty (Goal 1); Ghana, El Salvador, Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan on maternal health (Goal 5); and Nepal on sanitation (target of Goal 7). The respective United Nations resident coordinators and World Bank country directors joined the CEB members in an interactive dialogue to identify solutions to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Broadly, the review has been regarded by the United Nations country teams as a useful exercise for prompting a fresh look at strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals at the country level. It has also improved coordination and cooperation among the organizations of the United Nations development system and the World Bank on the ground. CEB members offered a range of proposals for accelerating implementation of the Millennium Development Goals that would significantly scale up support in identified countries, promote greater alignment of agency programmes, and facilitate cross-country knowledge-sharing in relevant areas.