The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will come into sharp focus next week, when the Office of the advisor on Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals under the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, hosts the United Nations’ Stand Against Poverty Campaign.

The campaign, held in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme, will run from Friday, September 17 to Sunday, September 19. It will feature a number of activities designed to sensitise the public about the MDGs and bring awareness concerning the level of poverty in the country.

To highlight the MDGs this year, a Community Expo will be held on Saturday, September 20, at Jubilee Gardens, Bridgetown, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On that day, there will be displays by a number of social services from within the Ministry of Housing, the Urban Development Commission, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Health. Representatives from various governmental and non-governmental organisations will also be on hand to conduct free health checks. Additionally, there will be entertainment, to educate the public on the purpose of the initiative.

Following this event, there will be a rally on Sunday, September 21, in Independence Square from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., where members of youth organisations, the disabled community, the Barbados Association of Vendors and the Salvation Army, among others, will make presentations designed to encourage persons to improve their lives.

Advisor on Poverty Eradication and the MDGs, Undene Whittaker, noted the issue of poverty was critical and deemed the upcoming event as a reminder of the deadline for achieving the MDGs.

"This campaign…is about helping Government and Civil Society, who, together will be seeking to address and reduce the issue of poverty, to recognise that the year 2015 is fast approaching, and there is a need to make an effort to ensure that they reach as far as possible these targets," Ms. Whittaker declared.

She also mentioned that the City would be the focal point for this year’s activities because of the unacceptable levels of poverty in that location, as reflected in the published statistics.

??"We are recognising that there are ways and means in which we can seek solutions to the concerns which are expressed by the residents and, therefore, we want to have them involved and have their say in providing solutions to the concerns.

"We speak it very liberally, but we want to make people understand what precisely the MDGs are, how they impact on [people’s] lives and the importance of buying into the concept of MDGs. It is about helping people to live in better circumstances and to benefit citizens in general," Ms. Whittaker disclosed.

The MDGs are eight goals adopted by 189 nations in September 2000, which seek to respond to the world’s main development challenges.??

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