Crown Prince at Roundtable talks
By Narissa Noor

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, answered the 'Call to Action' on Thursday during the High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals Roundtable on Education and Health for the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly.

"Have confidence in the future and we will do all we can to provide you and your families with the knowledge, skills, facilities, opportunities and health you need to cope well with the modern world and its many new challenges," declared the Crown Prince in a statement at the roundtable.

The 8th Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000.

Nearly 190 countries have subsequently agreed to work towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combat HIV and Aids, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

In July 2007, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking alongside the UN Secretary-General, launched an international campaign dubbed the "Call to Action" to accelerate progress on the MDGs, calling on world leaders, the private sector and civil society to join this effort.

In his statement, the Crown Prince acknowledged the MDGs influence in providing clear direction in the areas of health, education and training.

"In our own case, we are trying to offer assistance at the personal and community level," His Royal Highness added, referring to the heightened focus on human capacity building.

The Crown Prince also cited various programmes aimed at reaching these goals including expanding scholarship programmes for foreign students and Brunei's participation and assistance when natural disasters occur in the region.

"Massive fundamental changes are taking place in all societies and they could easily lead to a loss of confidence," he said, citing climate change, natural disasters, breakdowns in social structure, vast levels of migration m economic fears and the crisis in basic food and energy supplies as the driving forces.

"That is why we see reaching the Millennium Development Goals as more critical as ever," emphasised the Crown Prince in full support of the 'Call to Action'.

The opening ceremony for the High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals was held Thursday morning at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The ceremony was jointly chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, the President of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly.

Following the opening ceremony, three parallel thematic roundtables were held on "Poverty and Hunger" "Education and Health", and "Environmental Sustainability". - Borneo Bulletin (27th Sept 2008)