In September 2000, world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets – with a deadline of 2015 – these have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.

Five years away from 2015 members of the United Nations met last week in New York for the Millennium Summit. There was an outcome document produced reviewing the adopted promises of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.

Among the promises is a stronger commitment to women and more specifically to empowering women. They recognize “…that gender equality, the empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development, including the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals.”

To this end, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off a major concerted worldwide effort to accelerate progress on women’s and children’s health. With over $40 billion committed over the next five years, the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health has the potential of saving the lives of more than 16 million women and children. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The 21st century must and will be different for every woman and every child.” Read more about this initiative at the UN News Centre.