Ten years have passed since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration and the historical commitment to cut extreme poverty by half through the implementation of eight measurable and time-bound goals. In spite of significant achievements in a number of countries, progress remains uneven, and billions of people still struggle to meet their basic needs. In the lead up to the General Assembly high-level plenary meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in September 2010, CEB has reaffirmed its strong commitment and readiness to scale up the collective efforts of the United Nations system to assist Member States in accelerating progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Under the leadership of the Secretary-General, CEB has the conviction that the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved when the appropriate policies and projects, backed by adequate resources, are applied.

The threats posed by climate change and the food and global financial and economic crises have only heightened the priority of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. CEB considers it to be of immense value that the forthcoming Summit in 2010 would lead to national recommitments to the Millennium Development Goals. A positive and inclusive outcome would reinforce the wider framework of the internationally agreed development goals as well as the “delivering as one” objective. Organizations of the United Nations system have also stressed the critical importance of the Global Compact on the international dimensions of supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through national development strategies.

The United Nations system is working together to accelerate progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Under the aegis of UNDG, the United Nations system provided a series of analytical inputs for activities related to the forthcoming High-level Plenary Meeting. Five in-depth thematic papers on the Millennium Development Goals were produced, providing an analysis of successful country-level strategies and measures, the factors underpinning success, critical gaps, a summary of key lessons learned, and future measures for accelerated progress. The papers are rich in their analysis of country-level performance on the Millennium Development Goals, emphasizing the recognition of the interdependence of all of the Goals and of the necessity of country-led development strategies, while providing an important resource for encouraging country-level learning on how to improve development performance and accelerate progress. In their independent analysis, the papers emphasize the underlying importance of pro poor growth and sound macroeconomic policies and recognize other important determinants of future performance.

The guidance on country reporting on the Millennium Development Goals was amended to provide each country with the opportunity to undertake deeper analysis and generate country-level evidence on what is needed to achieve the Goals, while addressing new challenges and opportunities. The amendment includes guidance to United Nations country teams, Governments and national stakeholders to understand: (a) progress and trends on each of the Millennium Development Goal targets; (b) inequality in achievement of the Goals; (c) implementation bottlenecks that impede progress on those Goals that remain off track; (d) the impact of the global economic and climate crises on progress in achieving select Millennium Development Goal targets; and (e) examples of good practices that accelerate progress. United Nations country teams are working to support Governments and national stakeholders to prepare Millennium Development Goal country reports for the High-level Plenary Meeting. Evidence from those reports will be used to highlight recurring bottlenecks and suggest what proven initiatives could be scaled up to accelerate progress.

In an effort to share knowledge and learn from creative country approaches, a Millennium Development Goal good practices publication has also been produced. More than 200 good practices are included in this catalogue targeting specific constraints and challenges towards achievement of the Goals, which good practices have addressed in various ways. The cases presented are owned by national Governments and/or local populations and are supported by the United Nations, bilateral development agencies, civil society and the private sector. Each case contains unique lessons learned and key elements of success that could be useful for development planners and practitioners.