More than 140 world leaders are meeting in New York to review progress on the UN's Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty, disease, hunger and inequality.
The eight goals were created in 2000, with a deadline of 2015.
The UN itself concedes that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to meet some of the targets.
However, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has urged the delegates to stick to the task, despite the world economic downturn.
He says the goals can be achieved and warned world leaders not to use the economic downturn as an excuse for missing targets on reducing poverty.