US broadcasting giant Ted Turner on Tuesday pledged his cooperation with the Methodist and Lutheran churches to launch a new global effort to raise 200 million dollars to combat malaria .
"This groundbreaking new partnership, which we have developed with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will take our malaria prevention efforts to an entirely new level," said Turner, the 69-year-old founder of CNN.
Turner spoke at a special session of the UN General Assembly here on implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals set by the world body in 2000 and which are to be met by all the world's countries by 2015.
UN boss Ban Ki-moon also told the session that the track record on achieving the MDGs was "mixed."
"Compared to the year 2000, we can point to undeniable progress: three million more children now survive each year; an additional two million people receive treatment for AIDS and millions more children are in school," he noted.
He cited "impressive progress" in malaria control through the free distribution of bednets in Niger, Togo and Zambia."
However he bemoaned the fact that many countries remain off track, particularly across large parts of Africa and for many of the least developed countries.
And he noted that achieving the MDGs was also compounded by the slowing world economy and the impact of climate change.
The MDGs involve eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating global partnerships for development.
"Stopping malaria will go a long way toward giving people in poor and rich countries alike new hope and confidence that we can succeed in the fight against poverty and realize the MDGs," said Turner.
The CNN founder also chairs the United Nations Foundation, a public charity promoting the goals of the world body.
Joining him at the General Assembly's session were partners Bishop Janice Huie of the United Methodist Church (UMC) and youth leader Chad Amour, on behalf of Lutheran World Relief (LWR).
Their new joint initiative aims to educate and mobilize the UMC and LWR's combined constituency of more than 20 million people concerned about malaria and related diseases of poverty.
It will also extend financial support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and bolster malaria prevention and health system strengthening efforts.
The Global Fund, a partnership linking governments with civil society, the private sector and affected communities, was created to boost resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases and direct those funds to areas of greatest need.
"By bringing together the power, unity, and passion of eight million Lutherans, we know we can have a significant impact on one of the world's most debilitating diseases," said LWR President John Nunes.
With over 9 million members in the United States and 12 million worldwide, United Methodists has been involved in missionary work and poverty alleviation around the world, including Africa, for more than 160 years.
Lutheran World Relief is the humanitarian relief arm of both major US-based Lutheran Church bodies, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), which together have eight million members in the United States and 70 million worldwide.