Partnerships and Resources Vital to Anti-Poverty Goals

Excerpt from UN News Service: http://www.un.org/news/

Achieving the goals of halving poverty, hunger and other ills by 2015 can be done, the United Nations development chief stated today, stressing that it will take strong partnerships, dedicated resources and unwavering political leadership.

“We are faced with a choice: will the MDGs become another one of those promises the international community has made, but not kept? Or can we all rise to meet the internationally agreed challenge?” asked Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), referring to the Millennium Development Goals.

“The answer to me is clear: the MDGs must be met, they can be met, and we must do everything we can to ensure that they are met. The world’s poorest deserve no less,” she told an event on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual General Debate.

Miss Clark noted that from a global perspective, progress has been made on the MDGs, with the target of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015 likely to be achieved.

In addition, the latest figures on child mortality released by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimate that the number of child deaths in 2008 declined to 8.8 million from 12.5 million in 1990.

“But this is no time for complacency,” she stated. “It is still unacceptable that so many children die before their fifth birthday, and the global rate of improvement is still insufficient to reach this MDG.”

She acknowledged that making progress on the MDGs is challenging in the middle of a global economic crisis, and that the severe impact of the recession on developing countries could mean the risk of going backwards.

“Accelerating progress on the MDGs will therefore depend on the level of support available to developing countries; and on smart, strategic, and proven policies and the capacity within countries to implement them,” said Miss Clark.

This includes living up to commitments made on official development assistance (ODA), including the pledge made by the Group of Eight leaders at their summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to increase development aid by $50 billion by 2010. In addition, the G-20 meeting later this week must not overlook the needs of the poorest countries which are still in crisis, she added.

Achieving the Goals, she said, will require “strong partnerships, enough dedicated resources, unwavering political leadership, and a long-term strategy to ensure that how we develop and grow is sustainable in every sense.”

Miss Clark said the 2010 review of the MDGs by the General Assembly next September presents a unique opportunity that must be seized to promote further action to achieve the Goals. “We must ensure that it can provide a turning point for achieving the eight goals, spur collective action, forge strategic partnerships, and build renewed momentum until 2015.

“The review must therefore go beyond just describing trends for the MDGs to date. It should also provide us with a clear understanding of what has worked, what has not, and why.”

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