2010 Montreal Millennium Summit - Learn, Talk, Act

MONTREAL, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - At the initiative of Daniel Germain, president and founder of the Quebec Breakfast Club and the Breakfast Clubs of Canada, Montreal will be hosting the Montreal Millennium Summit for the fourth consecutive year, from April 20 to 22. Held at the Palais des congrès, this event is aimed at making the fight against poverty everyone's business. It will bring together key players for social change from government and civil society, academic and cultural communities, and leading humanitarian organizations.

The mission of this important forum for discussion and cooperation is to raise public awareness of the Millennium Development Goals and initiate change in order to address the major challenges of our century, as set forth by the United Nations in September 2000: human development, sustainable development, health and social solidarity. At this year's Summit, poverty will be examined from different angles that include climate change and its devastating effects on millions of people.

The UN's 189 member countries, which signed the Millennium Declaration, set 2015 as their target date. The Summit marks the final push toward achieving the Development Goals. Although the 2009 annual report cites important advances, including universal education and a decline in infant mortality rates around the world, it also shows that some areas have lost ground, including the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger. The effect of climate change on the world's most vulnerable populations and the global economic crisis, which reduced the humanitarian aid provided by developed countries, are among the factors that are slowing progress toward full achievement of the goals.

The successes to date prove that it is possible to reach the Millennium Goals. Influential people have the power and the duty to get involved and inspire others to engage in taking significant, concrete action. The Montreal Millennium Summit seeks to create a solidarity movement and demonstrate that each and every one of us can make a difference. As such, it will highlight the efforts of organizations and individuals who are working to improve collective well-being, encourage the next generation to contribute to sustainable development and come up with initiatives to more effectively assist the most vulnerable people on the planet.

"Worldwide, 1.4 billion people earn less than $1.25 a day. This is a frightening statistic, but it's a reality. The Millennium Summit is now in its fourth year. We can take pride in the steps we have taken to date but there is still so much to be done. The target of 2015 is almost here, so we must step up our efforts to reach our goals. Many challenges await us. Today, we must pool our strengths, our knowledge and our skills to change things. Every day, the fate of the world's poorest people rests a little more in the hands of those who can make a difference," explained Daniel Germain, the Summit's president and founder.

This year, the Summit's organizers are presenting a three-day program. Against the backdrop of the impact of climate change on the Millennium Development Goals, the event will include sessions for specialists from Quebec and farther afield, the Youth Forum and a conference open to the general public.

The National Forum: Quebec as a host - Tuesday, April 20

Hosted by Jean-François Lépine, this forum will focus on Quebeckers who are fighting poverty here at home, across Canada and around the world. Representatives from civil society and from provincial and territorial governments will take part in practical workshops to debate topics such as eradicating poverty across the country and civil society's concerns regarding the G8/G20 Summit (moderated by His Excellency Raymond Chrétien), taking place in June 2010 in Huntsville and Toronto. The third topic will be the key points in Canada's environmental issues. Participants will include the Honourable Christine Stewart, Canada's environment minister during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, and the Honourable Stéphane Dion, who was federal environment minister at the time of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Montreal, which followed the enactment of the Protocol.

Experts' Forum - Wednesday, April 21

This year, the Experts' Forum will emphasize the impact of climate change on achieving the Millennium Goals. A panel will focus on climate justice and an expert round table will examine the various methods of accessing drinking water and preferred approaches. This discussion will be preceded by an address by Dr. Riccardo Petrella, secretary general, Comité international pour un contrat mondial de l'eau and contributor to Le Monde Diplomatique.

Youth Forum - Wednesday, April 21

A highlight of the 2009 edition, the Youth Forum will again bring together more than 500 young people and speakers. Hosted by Patrice Bélanger, the forum will allow the exchange of expertise and experience relating to the Millennium Goals as well as an analysis of the situation of the world's poorest populations and ways young people can help them. Then, at the Meeting at the Summit, participants from the Experts' Forum will be invited to join the Youth Forum participants for a joint address by Philippe Cousteau, president, CEO and cofounder of EarthEcho International. It will be followed by a question period to allow young people to interact with the specialists.

Public Conference - Thursday, April 22

The public is invited to hear from several speakers who are working to combat poverty. Directed by Denis Bouchard, this major conference will bring together dignitaries, people who are directly involved in international development as well as well-known public figures.

During these three days of discussions and shared experiences, many special guests, ambassadors and dignitaries will speak and take part in the activities. Participants will include: The Honorable Al Gore, 42nd Vice-President of the United States and author of the bestseller An Inconvenient Truth

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and godmother of the Summit

Kristin Davis, actress and OXFAM ambassador

Salil Shetty, director, United Nations Millennium Campaign, secretary general, Amnesty International (June 2010)

Laure Waridel and Steven Guilbeault, co-founders of Équiterre, an organization that encourages people to take concrete action to effect positive change

Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice-chancellor, University of Winnipeg, and former federal minister of foreign affairs

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, aboriginal activist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee

Ghislain Picard, regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

The Honourable Salifou Sawadogo, Minister of Environment and Lifestyle of Burkina Faso and initiator of the World Forum on sustainable development in Ouagadougou in October 2009

Conference in Quebec City

For the second straight year, the Millennium Summit will be presenting a conference in Quebec City on Tuesday, April 21. Organized in collaboration with the Fondation communautaire du grand Québec, the conference will feature speakers such as Dr. Dominique Corti, honorary president, Teasdale-Corti Foundation (Canada).

In the wake of the tragic events of January 12, the Summit team wants to demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Haiti and applaud their courage. The reconstruction of Haiti will figure prominently in discussions throughout the event.

For more information on the guests and speakers and to purchase tickets, visit the 2010 Montreal Millennium Summit website:

http://www.millenniumsummit.ca/

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the Summit. The organizers cordially invite the public, development professionals and business people to the General public conference on April 22 at the Palais des congrès.

The 2010 Montreal Millennium Summit is presented by Investors Group Financial Services, in partnership with the Government of Québec, Le Monde de Cossette, Astral Media Radio, Bell, La Presse, cyberpresse.ca, Rio Tinto Alcan, la Ville de Montréal, BMO Financial Group, Place d'Armes Hôtel & Suites, The Gazette and Make Poverty History, Oxfam-Québec and its youth division, CLUB 2/3.

SOURCE MONTREAL MILLENNIUM SUMMIT

For further information: For further information: Media relations: Roy & Turner communications, (514) 844-9678; Isabelle Longtin, ilongtin@roy-turner.com; Elisabeth Roy, eroy@roy-turner.com

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