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Global Problems Can be Solved

UN Foundation Board Travels to Ghana to See Progress on the Millennium Development Goals

Children in Africa and Worldwide Should and Can Live Free from Polio and Measles

Washington, DC —   October 19, 2010

The United Nations Foundation Board of Directors, including Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner, are holding a Board meeting in Ghana and will meet with government and nonprofit leaders to learn and share strategies for advancing progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The meeting comes at the culmination of a year-long effort by the UN Foundation to raise awareness about the need for innovative partnerships between governments, civil society, and the private sector with the UN to address global challenges. The meeting in Ghana builds on the positive momentum generated during the recent high-level UN Summit in New York that showcased how the UN is achieving progress in Africa and must be accelerated around the world. 

The visit is scheduled for October 19-23, 2010 and is being hosted by Mr. Annan, who served as UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006 and led the effort to establish the MDGs in 2000. Mr. Annan joined the UN Foundation’s Board in 2008.

“This UN Foundation Board includes some of the world’s most respected leaders in health and development. Being together in Ghana for these meetings will underscore how we can make rapid progress toward ending extreme poverty and tackling global challenges including health and environmental sustainability,” said Mr. Annan. 

Ted Turner said: “One of the best ways to accelerate progress on all of the MDGs is to improve women’s and children’s health and to reduce the burden of preventable disease by expanding access to immunization. We look forward to talking with government and civil societies leaders to hear how the UN can support their efforts to prevent disease and save lives.” 

The UN Foundation’s schedule of events will include a high-level session on the MDGs with UN officials, Ghanaian government officials, and representatives of Ghanaian civil society organizations at the University of Ghana, Legon, on October 21. Set in 2000 by the UN, the MDGs tackle the biggest problems facing the world today – these include global poverty, women’s and children’s health, hunger, and education.  

The Board will also participate in high-level discussions with country-level UN representatives, a dinner meeting with Vice President John Dramani, and a luncheon meeting with the Vice Chancellors of Ghanaian Universities and other senior academic leaders.

The UN Foundation delegation will also travel to Kumasi, where they will tour health centers in the region where preparations are underway for the launch of a nationwide measles immunization campaign scheduled for early November. They will also participate in a meeting and cultural program hosted by the Asantehene.

“Ghana was one of the first countries to protect children against measles though a nationwide immunization campaign and has made remarkable progress in reducing measles deaths,” said Ted Turner. “This type of leadership and innovative partnership is what will drive a healthier future for this continent. Ghana’s continued commitment to hosting regular immunization campaigns and follow-up vaccinations has resulted in zero measles deaths in the last eight years. I commend the government and community leaders for their dedicated efforts to reach our goal of reducing measles deaths worldwide.” 

Board members will also participate in a discussion on the UN’s efforts to expand access to affordable energy, and they will meet with a group of entrepreneurs who have received support from the UN Foundation and the United Nations Environment Program to develop innovative energy technologies and products like clean cookstoves.

“Access to clean and affordable modern energy is critical to fostering lasting social and economic development and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation. “Worldwide about 1.5 billion people don’t have access to electricity, with 1 billion more people only having access to unreliable electricity networks. The UN Foundation is working with the UN, countries like Ghana, civil society, and the private sector to help reach the goal of universal energy access by 2030. By working together, we can provide convenient and affordable energy that will empower communities and protect the environment.”

Created in 1998 with Ted Turner’s U.S. $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities, the UN Foundation connects people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve global problems. Since 1998, the UN Foundation and partners in the Measles Initiative have supported measles campaigns costing more than $12 million and developed public-private partnerships to support UN projects in Ghana. These efforts are carried out in close cooperation with the Ghanaian government, UN Agencies, and leading Ghanaian business and nongovernmental organizations. 

UN Foundation Board members joining Turner, Annan and Wirth in Ghana are Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway), Director-General Emeritus, World Health Organization and Former Prime Minister of Norway, and Andrew Young (U.S.A.), Chairman of Good Works International and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

The members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors represent 11 nationalities. Other Board members who couldn’t travel to Ghana are Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (Jordan), Chairperson of the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and the Jordan River Foundation; Igor Ivanov (Russia), Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; N.R. Narayana Murthy (India), Chairman of the Board and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited; Hisashi Owada (Japan), President of the International Court of Justice; Emma Rothschild (United Kingdom), Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History, Harvard University and Director, Joint Center for History and Economics, Harvard University; Nafis Sadik (Pakistan), Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General; Yuan Ming (China), Director, Institute of International Relations at Peking University; and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh), Founder of the Grameen Bank.

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About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

 
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