As dawn broke over Kok, Papua New Guinea last Friday, 300 children and their teachers and friends gathered at Ela Beach in Port Moresby to welcome the new day by showing their support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Their motivation for getting up at 4:30am, and even camping out at their school for the Dawn Service, was to remember the eight goals that world leaders from Papua New Guinea and 188 other member states of the United Nations committed to in 2000 and agreed to achieve by 2010. The goals are aimed at improving the lives of the world’s poorest.
While most were still in bed, these children joined citizens around the world in observing the ‘Stand Up Take Action, Make a Noise for the MDGs’ campaign to remind the government and other world leaders of their promise to make Papua New Guinea and our world a better place for all. The Stand Up campaign took place on the eve of the three day Global MDG Review summit which began at the UN General Assembly in New York on September 20.
Bishop Douglas Young, Catholic Archbishop of Mount Hagen, Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Country Representative and acting UN Resident Coordinator, and other UN officials and civil society leaders joined the children in the Stand Up event. Bishop Douglas and Bertrand spoke to the children about the MDGs and the promise that their achievement holds for women and children and other marginalized groups, urging the government to do what is necessary to achieve the MDGs. Captain John Kerari, Chairman of the Civil Society Coalition, said: “The MDGs are achievable, if our leaders do the right thing. This means providing the political will and leadership, ensuring MDGs are integrated into our national plans, and providing adequate funding for MDGs. We can achieve the MDGS, if we all work together.”