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U.N. Secretary-General, UNAIDS Executive Director Highlight Role NGOs Can Play In Achieving MDGs

During the 63rd U.N. Department of Public Information/NGO Conference on Monday in Melbourne, Australia, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “call[ed] on delegates to do more to save the lives of mothers and babies,” the Australian Associated Press/Sydney Morning Herald reports (Alexander/Rose, 8/30).

Addressing the conference attendees via video, Ban noted that “partnerships between civil society and governments and the private sector will be critical if the world is to make serious inroads in the number of preventable deaths, particularly of women and children,” U.N. News Centre writes.

“You have a unique presence on the ground, in communities,” Ban said. “You understand, like no one else, the daily challenges faced by the most vulnerable. You have the passion and networks to spread our messages far and wide,” he added.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, also addressing the conference, “said it would be impossible to achieve any of the [Millennium Development Goals] MDGs without an inclusive system of governing and that meant ensuring civil society had a strong voice in all major policies and decisions,” according to U.N. News Centre. Sidibe “cited the social movement that has emerged around the HIV pandemic in the past three decades, bringing huge increases in funding and spending on efforts to defeat the disease, as an example of where the world has been able to ‘harness the passion and the expertise’ that NGOs have” (8/30).

The AAP/Sydney Morning Herald includes comments from Sidibe on the recent progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The article also features comments by an Australian midwife and an indigenous woman from Australia (Alexander/Rose, 8/30).

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio features an interview with Geoff Adlide, director of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), on immunization programs worldwide (Coutts, 8/31). A second ABC Radio piece features interviews with Tim Costello, chief executive officer of World Vision Australia, and Claudio Schuftan, public health consultant and member of The People’s Health Movement (NGO), about the MDGs (McCarthy, 8/31).