Friday, September 12, 2008

UN chief unveils report on flagging world fight against poverty

UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday unveiled a report warning that poverty reduction goals agreed by world leaders eight years ago may not be met by the 2015 target date, particularly in Africa. The UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2008 was released ahead of a summit meeting on the MDGs, scheduled for September 25 on the margins of the UN General Assembly session. It noted that improved data from the World Bank confirmed that between 1990 and 2005, the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped from 1.8 to 1.4 billion and that the 1990 global poverty rate was likely to be halved by 2015. "But while most of this decline occurred in East Asia, particularly China, other regions had much smaller decreases in the poverty rate and only modest falls in the number of poor," it said. "Sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet republics actually saw the number of poor increase between 1990 and 2005." The September 25 gathering, which will be held three days after a high-level meeting here focused on Africa's development, will be the first summit on the MDGs since 2000. Ban told a press conference that 150 countries, including more than 90 heads of state or government, would be represented at the two gatherings which he said were aimed at really working "more for the poorest of the poor, the bottom billion trapped in poverty." Turning to the MDGs, the UN secretary general told a press conference that "despite the challenges, there are enough successes to prove that most of the poor are reachable in most countries." "We must really galvanize political will and mobilize necessary resources," he added. "I expect all participants (at the upcoming meetings) to announce specific initiatives or commitments and lay out plans to realize them." In 2000, world leaders gathered at a UN summit here agreed on eight development goals to be implemented by all countries by 2015, including halving the number of people living below the poverty line - now set at $ 1.25 a day - between 1990 and 2015. Other MDGs focus on 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. (Economics Times)
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