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Legislators’ courageous leadership vital to MDG achievement and shaping post-2015 global development agenda

(Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2012)—Members of parliament and civil society organizations (CSOs) representing 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific region are in Manila to formulate a plan of action for the final three years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that will support the post-2015 development agenda.

Critical development issues such as inequalities, access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, sustainable development, governance and accountability are central to discussions during the “Southeast, East, Northeast Asia and the Pacific Parliamentarian and CSO Forum on MDG Acceleration and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.”

“While we recognize improvements in people’s lives over the last decade, progress has been uneven, and we need to continue to work with urgency until we live in a world free of extreme poverty,” said Minar Pimple, Regional Director for Asia and Pacific, United Nations Millennium Campaign.

“Accelerated delivery of the MDGs, especially for left behind social groups, is a precondition for a credible post-2015 development agenda,” said Pimple. He stressed the need for “courageous leadership and accountability on meeting existing commitments” and “a truly open and inclusive process by putting people first.”

According to Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), while the MDGs remain in many respects an unfinished business, there is a lot to learn from how the goals are making an impact on the world’s poorest countries. “Experience tells us that aggregate data are masking inequalities. Our task is to focus on how inequalities are hampering MDG progress and to demand accountability so that our legislators and elected leaders are equipped to build a more sustainable and just future,” San Pascual said.

Parliamentarians in the recent 10th General Assembly of AFPPD pledged to engage in the review processes of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and MDGs looking at priorities for moving forward in the post-2015 period.

High-level delegates from Asia Pacific include Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives; Dr. Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Member of Parliament, Indonesia; Rep. Walden Bello and Rep. Teodoro Baguilat of the Philippines; Dame Carol Kidu, former Minister of Papua New Guinea; Fiame Naomi Mata’fa, Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Samoa; and Ouk Damry, member of National Assembly of Cambodia. Also participating in the discussions are two members of parliament representing the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of UK, and two African Members of Parliament (MPs) representing the Network of African Parliamentarians on the MDGs as solidarity delegations.

Hosted by the Philippine House of Representatives and the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), the Forum highlights key MDG successes, challenges, policies and programs at national and regional levels; and seeks to develop and enhance strategic partnerships and networks to ensure advocacy for, and effective formation and implementation of policies and programs for acceleration of the MDGs.

At the end of the Forum, a “Manila Declaration of Parliamentarians and CSOs on the MDG Acceleration and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” will be adopted, outlining key national and sub-regional issues.

About the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development
The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development is a regional non-governmental organization which serves as a coordinating body of twenty five National Committees of Parliamentarians on Population and Development. AFPPD seeks to generate support and cooperation among Asian parliamentarians in the areas of population and development, and related fields. It commits to educate, motivate, involve and mobilize parliamentarians on the linkages between increasing population and issues such as reproductive health, family planning, food security, water resources, sustainable development, environment, ageing, urbanization, migration, HIV/AIDS, and gender equality.

About the United Nations Millennium Campaign
The UN Millennium Campaign supports and inspires people from around the world to hold their governments to account for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by 189 world leaders from rich and poor countries, as part of the Millennium Declaration which was signed in 2000.

Since 2002 we have worked with UN partners and key global constituencies, such as civil society, parliamentarians, faith groups and youth to inspire people from around the world to take action for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Now the Campaign advocates for increased efforts to effectively promote greater support for the MDGs, as it is more critical than ever that they remain a priority in the political and public agenda. We work underlining their impact and that they continue to be a sound and worthwhile investment for all in the fight against global poverty.

Additionally, the UN Millennium Campaign is engaged in the post-2015 process. For updates on the post-2015 process, go to: www.worldwewant2015.org. For more information on the Millennium Campaign, log on to www.endpoverty2015.org.