Today, April 5, marks the beginning of the 1000 day countdown to the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon sums up the current situation as follows:
In the last dozen years, 600 million people have risen from extreme poverty — a fifty per cent reduction. A record number of children are in primary school — with an equal number of girls and boys for the first time. Maternal and child mortality have dropped. Targeted investments in fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have saved millions of lives. Africa has cut AIDS-related deaths by one-third in just the past six years.
There are also Goals and targets where we need far more progress. Too many women still die in childbirth, when we have the means to save them. Too many communities still lack basic sanitation, making unsafe water a deadly threat. In many parts of the world, rich and poor alike, inequalities are growing. Too many are still being left behind.
This, Ban writes, should spur global action in many areas, including renewed efforts to ensure that women and girls have equal access to services and resources, that draw on the energy of the “government to grassroots” global movement that has helped spur progress so far.
Taking up this charge, organizations around the world are taking part in the Momentum 1000 global online rally today. From Momentum 1000:
April 5th marks the 1,000-day milestone until the 2015 target date to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a development framework to improve lives worldwide. On that day, a community of individuals, organizations, and institutions will come together to celebrate successes to date, reinvigorate discussion on the MDGs themselves, and begin to advance a post-2015 development framework that builds on #MDGmomentum.
While many events will provide an opportunity to discuss maternal health in the context of the Goals, a few events focus specifically on MDG5 on maternal health. These include an 11:00 AM (EDT) Every Woman’s Right: Access to Family Planning at 11:00 AM (EDT), which will be hosted by the UN Foundation’s Universal Access Project, Family Planning 2020 and Every Woman Every Child; and the 11:30 AM (EDT) MDG 5: A Matter of Life and Death Twitter chat, which will be hosted by UNFPA. To join the rally or learn more about individual events, visit the Momentum 1000 website, or join the discussion on Facebook here, or on Twitter using the hashtag #MDGmomentum.
For more on what the final 1000 Days means for maternal health and the other Goals, visit the MDG website for new fact sheets and ways to take action. In addition, visit the Lancet to read A Healthy perspective: the post-2015 development agendaby the heads of WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and other leading global health organizations, as well as the manifesto for maternal health developed at the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013.