What do we need to do to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

With 808 days until the target date to achieve the MDGs – eight goals embraced by governments and the UN in 2000 to reduce poverty, hunger, gender inequality, preventable deaths, and environmental degradation by 2015 – it’s a question at the top of many minds.

We recently asked a group of leaders to share with us one critical action we should take to advance progress on the MDGs. Here are short excerpts of what they told us. Check out these videos to hear their full answers.

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme:

“If we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals before 2015, it means that we need to go beyond developing a sense of urgency to actually working to implement with a sense of urgency.”

Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and UN Foundation Board Member:

“Something [to] always emphasize is [to] bring civil society into the picture, because unless citizens take it over, government alone cannot make.”

Kandeh Yumkella, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All:

“The one major action that needs to be taken now is to recognize that energy is the ultimate enabler of all the Millennium Development Goals. … If you want to solve gender problems, health problems, ensure clean water availability, preserve and process foods, you need access to energy.”

John Kufuor, Former President of Ghana and Chair of Sanitation and Water for All:

“It must be the partnership amongst the subscribers, and when I say that it means the whole of the United Nations, the world community must submit to partnerships with common view…”

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:

“I think it should be partnerships, working in synergy … and then I think also it is very critical to make the bridge between the current Millennium Development Goals and what will follow after 2015…”

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Executive Chairperson of the Motsepe Foundation:

“It is about the empowerment of women.  I believe we can do much to achieve the other goals if we focus on including the other half of our human resources through empowering them…”