Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Het akkoord van Schokland" The UN Millenium Development Goals

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The agreement on the Goals was made by the leaders of the nations in the year of 2000. We are now exactly half-way in time, but far behind in schedule. It is a bloody shame! Government leaders and politicians are to be blamed. But reaching the Millennium Goals isn't solely a task for governments and NGO's. We all bear a responsibility. Today, at the historic place of Schokland, hundreds of private enterprises, organizations, well known and less known Dutch have signed the "Akkoord van Schokland" (= The agreement of Schokland) in which they declare to deliver a personal and concrete contribution to the Millennium Goals. You can also sign in on: (nb: this is an invitation...)

Schokland before the reclamation of the Noordoostpolder

Schokland is a special place: as a symbol of the struggle against the sea, it stands for the history and culture of the Netherlands. For centuries, Schokland was a densely populated island in the Zuiderzee. But the sea level kept rising and Schokland became smaller and smaller. By the early 19th century the situation had become intolerable, but the Schoklanders refused to give in. In 1859, after repeated flood disasters, the last villages were finally evacuated by royal degree. The island was abandoned to the elements and the Schokland culture came to an end. In 1942 a large part of the former Zuiderzee was reclaimed, wich meant that Schokland ceased being an island and could be reached from all sides via the former sea floor. Schokland is so special that it was the first monument in the Netherlands to be included on the Unesco World Heritage List, joining such structures as the Reims cathedral, the tower of Pisa end the pyramids of Giza. According to Unesco, the island ‘island’ in the polder is a place ‘of exceptional universal value’. There’s no better recommendation than that. Schokland is a must for all who want to learn about the Netherlands.
Click here for a panorama of Schokland (Quicktime required)

Schokland situated in the middle of the Noordoostpolder

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