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8 September - The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight globally agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, were the focus of Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro's meetings today with Albania's President and other senior officials.

“Development is a key element of peace and security,” Ms. Migiro stressed during her meeting with President Bamir Topi in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

She highlighted the strides the country has made towards promoting development, urging the leader to incorporate MDGs into Government planning and resource allocation.

With the world facing obstacles such as poverty, food insecurity and the effects of the financial crisis, nations “require a multilateral platform,” Ms. Migiro stressed during her meeting with the President on the second day of her two-day visit to Albania. “No country can confront this alone.”

For his part, Mr. Topi expressed his appreciation for the work of the United Nations in his country, especially through its “Delivering as One” initiative. Albania is one of eight countries where the scheme is being piloted.

The scheme, launched in 2007, seeks to have the world body “deliver as one” at the country level with one leader, one programme, one budget, and where appropriate, one office, with the aim of avoiding fragmentation and duplication of efforts.

The Albanian President said the initiative is beneficial in the fight against corruption, as well as to promoting gender equality, social inclusion, education and other key issues.

Also in Tirana today, she met with Jozefina Topalli, Speaker of Parliament, whom Ms. Migiro praised for her role in combating domestic violence and extending women and children's rights.

Yesterday, the Deputy Secretary-General held talks with Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who told her that “the United Nations helped my nation accompanied my country in the journey of change.”

He thanked Ms. Migiro for the new International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), which is co-sponsored by the UN and seeks to educate public and private sector anti-corruption practitioners in more effectively implementing the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Inaugurated last week in Austria, it aims to fill the rising global need for training, research and contemporary measures and techniques in the fight against corruption.

“Corruption is evil and is an enemy to development,” the Deputy Secretary-General told Mr. Berisha, congratulating Albania for its fight against the scourge.

While in the country, she also had a discussion with the UN country team and visited a UN programme on youth employment and migration, meeting disadvantaged young people taking part in a work-training programme.

“In your age you have the strength, you have the power and so you should use it to help communities and to build a strong Albania to make your country a key player in the region,” Ms. Migiro told participants. “Albania is waiting for you; the future of any nation lies in its youth.”

Tomorrow, she will be in Athens, Greece, to address a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) event on gender equality and development.